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:
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.