Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the long-term health-related problems of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), to develop specific strategies targeted to minimize these problems, and to assess the effect of these interventions on long-term problems of SCI patients.
Methods: Fifty persons with SCI were surveyed for various secondary medical problems, specific interventions were carried out to ameliorate them, and follow-up assessment was performed six months later to examine the impact of these over time.
Results: At mean 3.7 years post-SCI, bladder problems (44%), neuropathic pain (42%), bedsores (36%) and spasticity (60%) were the major secondary medical problems and were responsible for medical interventions or hospitalization in the participants. Specific interventions directed towards minimizing health-related problems in SCI population were effective in terms of minimizing the intensity and incidence at six-month follow-up survey. Ninety-two percent of the patients in the present study were either very satisfied or satisfied with the specific interventions.
Conclusion: The present study highlights that incidence of secondary medical problems in SCI population is high compared to the Western world and this issue needs an urgent attention. The outcomes of this study further substantiate that by paying attention to general principles of care for paraplegics and by developing specific strategies targeted to minimize these health-related problems, persons involved in the management and rehabilitation of SCI population can reduce the incidence and intensity of secondary medical problems.