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Spinal Cord Injury Breakthroughs: Past, Present, and Future

Learn more about the changing face of spinal cord injuries and hope for the future!

You might not feel very lucky after sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI). But there truly has never been a better time to be a spinal cord injury survivor. A few generations ago, SCI survivors rarely survived. When they did, they faced lives of pain, disability, and stigma.

Even as recently as a decade or two ago, spinal cord injury survivors faced a more difficult fight than today. Between 1995-2006, survival rates dramatically increased, due in large part to more effective emergency treatment and better long-term symptom management. So what has helped change the lives of spinal cord survivors? Improved survival rates and great quality of life are due in large part to:

  • A better understanding of brain and spinal cord anatomy.
  • More lifestyle interventions, including exercise and nutrition.
  • A deeper understanding of the connection between mental and physical health.
  • Cutting-edge research that has produced a wide range of treatments.
  • More precise brain and spinal cord surgery that can save lives in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic injury.
  • Rehabilitative care to help the body work around the injury.
  • Greater access to cutting-edge facilities.

Progress toward a cure for SCI has never been more rapid. Stem cell research points to a number of possible treatment options. Robotic devices have already restored some mobility for a small number of patients. And research into neural regeneration and other cutting-edge techniques may someday help the spinal cord heal itself.

It’s not easy to live with a spinal cord injury. But a meaningful, full life is more accessible than ever before. Research can change on a dime, and the next great discovery may be just around the corner.

There is real hope for a cure in our lifetime, and it’s a near-certainty that treatments will continue to improve.

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