5 Tips for Spinal Cord Injuries

Nov 05, 2014
Tagged with: 5 Tips for Spinal Cord Injuries

Holiday Season evokes mixed feelings in most of us. Some of us, primarily those who believe in fairy tales and Christmas stories, love the snow, the woolen clothing, the boots, the hot chocolate, and the warm fireplace to snuggle by in the night. The more pragmatic among us hate the thought of the snow giving way to slush and storms creating transport issues. Then there are those who don’t like the idea of it being too dark and cold most of the time and their physical activity taking a hit as a result.

When you throw a spinal cord injury into the mix, things can get worse. For one, everything hurts more when it’s cold. For another, the cold in itself can give people the blues. We spend too much time indoors and that often leads to ruminating, which is the enemy of happiness. Here are a few suggestions for people with a spinal cord injury to look after their well-being as the mercury begins to dip.

Invest in Winter-Friendly Clothing

Layered clothing is good for everybody during winters seeing as the layers trap the heat and act as insulation against biting cold. Layers are also rather convenient to take off depending on the fluctuations in temperature.

However, choose your fabrics with care.

Wool and fleece are better than cotton for the simple reason that cotton does not insulate and takes forever to dry in cold weather. If you accidentally end up wetting a sleeve, you may have to wait until it’s completely dry to feel warm again. You could also immediately change it but this may not always be feasible if you are a person that uses a wheelchair. In extreme cases wet cotton clothing may lead to hypothermia. Stick to quality and branded winter clothing for best results.

Keep Your Extremities Covered

One of the best ways to keep yourself warm is by covering your extremities. When your hands and your feet aren’t covered, your body keeps losing heat to the point that you start feeling chilly. Since your extremities (including your head) are great sources of heat loss, keeping them covered leads to preservation of warmth.

Keep your feet warm and snug in chunky woolen socks all the time. Wear leg warmers if your legs tend to get very cold. Also ensure you have mittens or lined gloves on you so that you can easily slip them on when it gets a bit chilly. Keeping your head covered is also a good idea, but if you don’t want to keep it covered all the time, ensure that you have a woolen cap at hand (just like the mittens).

Keep Yourself Hydrated and Moisturized

A dehydrated body loses heat fast and dry, chapped skin just plain hurts. Keep the routine of drinking plenty of water going into the winter, and moisturize until your body feels sufficiently supple. Pay special attention to the parts of your body that get sore due to continuous sitting or lying on the bed. With a post spinal cord injury the skin requires greater care than usual, and this need goes further up in winters. Apart from keeping yourself moisturized perform regular pressure reliefs in order to keep sores, blisters, and ulcers (which would hurt very bad in cold weather) at bay.

Find an Enjoyable Physical Activity

Exercise keeps you not just active, strong, and healthy, but also engaged, which leaves you with lesser time to indulge in what-ifs. Not surprising to see that combats anxiety and depression, often associated with winter months. It’s also an excellent way to while time when it’s dark and cold outside and when you have grown sick of watching TV or browsing the Web. Ask your healthcare provider to prescribe an exercise program for you, keeping your fitness levels and goals in mind.

Learn a New Skill

What better way to pass your days than to lose yourself in something you are passionate about? If you can’t think of any interests off the top of your head that would consume you for hours on end, dabble in a few this winter to find what may turn out to be your passion for life. It could be learning a new language, learning to sing, or some other skill.


A spinal cord injury can change your life for the better or for worse depends on how you deal with your injury. I believe in giving life the best shot, no matter the circumstances. It is so important to stay as active as possible. Weather can prove to be too much to deal with for most of us, but with these suggestions, you should be able to have a happy and memorable winter.

Author: Michael Georgiou

  • bobl07

    I do love the cold weather and even some snow. I just do not prefer it for 4 months. Thanks for the tips on keeping warm.