Spinal cord injury recovery and nutrition

Here's how what you eat affects your health

No matter who you are, what you eat affects your health. Fueling your body with good food ensures that it can function at it’s very best. We often get used to certain types of foods and the quantity of those foods that make us feel our best. But, after a spinal cord injury our life and our body can change, forcing us to adjust our habits.

These changes and adjustments can affect your diet. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario outlined in their Nutrition after SCI Series how bad diets usually follow spinal cord injuries. They mentioned that changes in economic status, transportation, digestion, food preparation challenges and the nutrient values associated with comfort food contribute to the development of poor diets after spinal injury.

But the period after experiencing a spinal injury is a crucial time to give your body what it needs to heal. Nutrition, the fueling of your body with the nutrients in what you choose to eat, has a major affect on your health. Ensuring that you are eating an appropriate diet after your injury can help your body to avoid, or reduce the effects of secondary health complications.

Some health complications that can follow a spinal cord injury are pressure ulcers, pain and inappropriate bladder management, as well as increased risks of developing other medical concerns like diabetes, elevated cholesterol, weight gain and osteoporosis.

Avoiding any possible secondary health complications, or using your diet in order to minimize them or make them easier to deal with can be beneficial for your overall and long-term health—which can make your recovery journey a little easier. The food you consume has a major impact on many of these secondary health complications.

There are many great resources available to help you educate yourself on the effect a spinal injury has on your health and the dietary changes you can make to help alleviate the negative effects. For example, the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario Nutrition after SCI Series (as mentioned before) breaks down nutritional information by secondary health complication, including weight, pressure sores, cardiovascular disease as well as bowel and bladder issues. Also, the University of Washington’s report on Everyday Nutrition for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury breaks down dietary information after a spinal injury.

Seeking out advice on how your diet should adjust after your injury, including what, when and how much you should be eating, is valuable information that can help you improve your overall health. While there is lots of information available online when it comes to how you should change your diet, getting professional advice can ensure that you are making the right dietary choices in your specific case.

Do your research and speak with your doctor about reaching out to a registered dietitian for guidance. They can ensure that you are on the right track. With the number of changes already in your life that come with a spinal injury changing your diet can be difficult. But even though transforming your diet can be overwhelming, making changes gradually can help you ease into the process and make your diet changes less difficult.

After a spinal injury, your first priority should be your recovery. We can help you focus on your health by taking care of the legal part of your recovery journey.

Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and we’ll get you the support you need.

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How to practice self-care as a caregiver

5 simple steps to take back your well-being

When you become a caregiver, often it’s your own needs that quickly take a backseat in order to put those you care about first. However, taking care of your own well-being is essential to be able to continue caring for those who rely on you, and as we practice self-care the person you care for benefits as well.

Taking small steps to maintain your well-being is essential. Here are some simple steps from the Family Caregiver Alliance you can take as a caregiver to help keep you burning bright instead of burning out.

1. Reduce stress

Stress stems from many different avenues, and it’s important to be cognizant of stress in your life, the forms it takes in your actions, where it comes from and what part of those stressors you can change. Next, explore de-stressing activities until you find one that works for you. Meditation, taking a walk, regular exercise or chatting with friends are all things you can try.

2. Take care of your physical health

You’re so focused on others’ physical health it can be easy to forget your own. Give your body the fuel it needs by making a full night’s sleep and eating nutritious food a daily priority. Incorporating exercise into your routine is important as well, even if for just 10 minutes a day. In addition to daily actions to take care of your personal health taking time to see a physician when you need to is crucial. Make your appointments at convenient times and go prepared with all your questions.

3. Seek and accept support

Knowing when you need help is a sign of strength. When it comes to needing support with your caregiving, break down things you need help with into simple tasks so it’s clear and easy for others to understand how to help you, or what you’re asking for. For example, you’re overwhelmed and cooking takes up a lot of your time. You could ask a friend who offered assistance to help you with preparing meals once a week. Seeking emotional support is also important as well. There is no shame in reaching out to friends, counselors or support groups when you need someone to talk to.

4. Be cognizant of your feelings/mind set

Since caregiving can be a very emotional it’s important to recognize what you are feeling. You are allowed to have a range of emotions about your life as a caregiver. Recognize what they are and if they become overwhelming or intense seek support and reduce stress. Changing your mindset can have a huge impact on your emotions. If you have an overly negative view of your situation try to change it.

5. Set goals

Starting a journey of self-care is a positive change but a life change nonetheless. Whether you are starting from the very beginning, or you want to improve your existing self-care, the change you seek to make in your life can fall away from your attention if you don’t keep yourself accountable. Setting goals and sticking to them is a great way to do this. Break down your goals into smaller achievable ones that will help you get there.

If you have been injured, and need legal assistance, call #1000 on your cell phone for free. We will offer you a free claim assessment.

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