Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2019 is held on May 17th. This annual awareness event is arranged by the Spinal Injuries Association in conjunction with other charities. The day aims to raise the profile of spinal injuries and increase awareness and understanding of spinal cord injuries and their impact, effect and treatment.
The spinal cord runs from the brain down to the pelvis. It carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body, affecting walking, breathing, movement, blood pressure and control of the bowels and bladder. Injuries to the spinal cord can affect these functions, sometimes seriously, leading to loss of movement and control control of bodily functions.
The spinal cord can be damaged through trauma as a result of accidents, or as a result of illness and infection. The impact of the damage depends on where the spinal cord is injured, for example if the injury is in the cervical or thoracic (upper spine) loss of the use of arms and legs can occur and breathing may be affected, while lower spinal cord injuries may affect use of the legs and control of the stomach, bladder and bowels. Each injury and its effects can be unique to the sufferer and depends on the cause, circumstances and how quickly the injury is treated.
The awareness day helps people to understand why and how spinal cord injuries affect people, and what treatment and care is available and needed. Spinal injuries continue to be researched for treatment and cure, and in some cases it is possible to recover the use of the limbs and regain some activities, it depends on the injury, but usually it is a lifelong injury. The awareness day provides information for sufferers, carers, health professionals and the general public on all of this.