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Mobility is an important aspect of a
spinal cord injury (SCI). The ability to move lets you
participate more fully in community life and do the things you would like to
do. You are not "confined" to crutches or wheelchairs—they make you
independent. Mobility devices can help you get to work, go shopping, and get
around outside your home. They may allow you to participate in races,
basketball, tennis, and other sports. You can often get around as quickly as
anyone else can walking.
Most people with an SCI use a wheelchair at some point. Even if you
can get around with crutches, there will probably be times when you need a
wheelchair. The two main types of wheelchairs are:
You select a wheelchair based on how much movement and feeling you
have (your functional level of injury), how much you are able to do, how strong
your upper body is, where and how the wheelchair will be used, and its cost.
Questions you can ask are:
Other types of mobility devices include:
Just because you have an SCI does not mean you cannot drive. Many
people with SCIs are able to drive with special modifications to their vehicle.
If you feel you can drive, talk to your
occupational therapist or case manager. You will
probably have to go through a program that evaluates your ability to drive
safely. This generally includes an evaluation of your visual and movement
skills, reaction time, and hand function.
February 15, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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