Spinal Cord Injury

To learn more about any book, just click on the title below.

(*Books marked with an asterisk are reference material only).


Spinal Injuries Australia; Australia: ISBN 0-939957-01-9

Having the misfortune of sustaining a spinal cord injury can be one of the most life-changing events you could ever experience. Every aspect of your life changes and nothing is ever exactly the same as it was before.

One of the most challenging aspects is not knowing what is still achievable, especially when you think there is so much that you think is no longer possible.

Someone who can truly say “I’ve been where you are and I know what it’s like” can help you to see that life does go on and there is so much that you can still achieve. That’s why the Peer Support team have put together this tiny sample of everyday people doing what they consider to be everyday things.

Everybody has goals or pictures in their mind of how their future might be. After a spinal cord injury, you might need to change them a bit or even give yourself new pictures.

ABC of Spinal Cord Injury

David Grundy & Andrew Swain; London, England: BMJ Publishing Group; 1996 (third edition) ISBN 0727910493

  • At the accident
  • Evacuation and initial management in hospital
  • Investigation
  • Early management
  • Nursing
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social needs of the patient and the family
  • Transfer from hospital to community care
  • Later management and complications

With chapters from experienced workers in each aspect of management, the emphasis is placed on the team approach, and the adjustment of patients to living in the community. This is essential reading for emergency medicine physicians and staff, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers caring for spinal cord injury patients.

A Complete Plain-English Guide To Living With A Spinal Cord Injury

Carolyn Boyles; iUniverse; United States Of America: ISBN 978-0-595-45864-6

An invaluable resource for anyone touched by spinal cord injury – newly injured patients, long-time survivors, friends and loved ones, and medical professionals – this book offers a survivor’s perspective on the physical and emotional journey from the time of injury, through the entire recovery process, and on to living a full and happy life.

This thorough, down-to-earth manual delivers solid, factual information and real-world advice from someone who has been there. Carolyn Boyles, a long-term spinal cord injury survivor, translates medical jargon into plain English, and helps you understand everything you need to know about living and thriving with an injured spinal cord.

Boyles’ handbook covers surgeries and complications, treatment and rehabilitation, working with medical professionals, dealing with family and friends, understanding your unique injury, prognosis and life expectancy, maintaining hope and faith, working through emotional baggage (including the many forms of survivor guilt), what to expect physically, and how to rebuild a quality life.

Carolyn candidly answers all the questions nobody wants to ask, and she even includes statistics, ideas for additional reading and movies, resources, and more. But most importantly, she shows you that a spinal cord injury is not a life-ending event, but rather a new beginning.

Back on Track: A Basic Introduction To Those Learning To Live With A Spinal Cord Injury

Julian Verkaaik; Christchurch, New Zealand: The Burwood Academy of Independent Living; 2004 ISBN 0-476-00686-4From the first page, a message you will encounter when you read this book is that rehabilitation is not a medical process, it’s about learning and living and managing yourself and your new circumstances.

But the most important message is that a spinal injury or disability is not the end, it is the beginning of a new life that can be every bit as regarding as the one so reluctantly left behind.

As with any of life’s challenges, knowledge and understanding are essential.

Choosing A Wheelchair: A Guide For Optimal Independence

Gary Karp; USA: O’Reilly & Associates; 1999 ISBN 1-56592-411-8A wheelchair is a tool of liberation, not confinement. With the right wheelchair, quality of life increases dramatically – even people with severe disabilities can have a considerable degree of independence and activity.

People selecting a chair for the first time can be distracted by their emotions, overwhelmed by the number of features to consider, and unsure of their part in the selection process. Experienced wheelchair users might know about the features on their present chair that don’t work well, but are probably not aware of all their options with a new wheelchair.

In this book, long time chair user and ergonomics consultant Gary Karp guides you through the selection process to help you identify the chair that can provide you with optimal independence. He covers such topics as:

  1. The wheelchair as a mobility tool
  2. The selection process and your part in it
  3. How to compare manufacturers (including smaller, niche manufacturers)
  4. Basic choices such as: Power or manual? Fixed frame or folding?
  5. Features and options for both power and manual chair users
  6. Paying for the chair
  7. Wheelchair maintenance
  8. A primer on wheeling technique

*Coping Effectively With Spinal Cord Injuries

Paul Kennedy; USA: Oxford University Press; 2009 ISBN 978-0-19-533972-7Individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) face many challenges. By nature, an SCI has a very sudden impact on a person, physically as well as emotionally and socially. The changes that result represent a potential source of stress that can be overwhelming. The program described in this book is designed to help those with SCI cope with this stress.

Coping effectiveness training (CET) is a group based intervention that teaches participants a range of adaptive coping skills for managing stress and difficult situations. Over the course of seven sessions, participants learn problem solving methods, ways of challenging negative thoughts, how to set up a system of social support, and relaxation exercises to help combat anxiety. They are taught the importance and benefit of being assertive and ways of effectively dealing with those individuals who may not understand their disability. The primary goals of this program are to increase people’s capacity to cope and to increase their belief in their ability to manage their situation.

Complete with step by step instructions for running sessions, as well as lists of materials needed, session outlines, and copies of forms necessary for treatment, this therapist guide provides you with all the information you need to help SCI sufferers reclaim their lives and look to the future with optimism.

How To Live With A Spinal Cord Injury: You Can Be On Top Of The World. Ideas You Can Use To Get Your Life Back In Gear.

Elle Becker, MA; USA: Cheever Publishing; 1989 ISBN 0-915708-27-2Primarily written for the newly spinal cord injured person in the hospital setting, to alleviate unnecessary fears and to instil a sense of hope for the future.

Life on Wheels – For The Active Wheelchair User

Gary Karp; USA: O’Reilly; 1999 ISBN 1-56592-2530This book is for people who want to take charge of their own life experience. Gary Karp, ergonomic consultant and long time wheelchair user, describes:

  1. Medical issues, including the sensation and dangers of paralysis, circulatory issues, the rehab experience, choosing the optimal wheelchair, and cure research
  2. Day to day living issues, such as keeping fit, skin care, bowel and bladder care, sexuality, home access, maintaining a wheelchair, wheeling technique, and dealing with insurance problems
  3. Psychological and social issues, such as self-image, adjustment to life change, friends, family, asking for and receiving help, cultural attitudes, history of disability, and activism.

This book offers practical ways to adapt and optimise the quality of your life. The stories of other chair users illustrate a range of concerns and possibilities.

Living With a Spinal Cord Injury

Richard J. Boyle; New York, USA: Norton Professional Book; 2006 ISBN 0-393-70449-1Most small not-for-profit organisations are under-resourced and under-skilled. Many are barely keeping their heads above water now the emphasis is on contracting out work in both the public and private sectors. Most are looking for help to cope with new demands for accountability and performance assessment.

This book offers a broad introduction to the management issues faced by human service organisations, particularly small ones. It covers the basics of managing different roles and skills, staff and volunteer recruitment, maximising people’s contributions, managing financial and physical resources and managing change. The approach is practical and the text is illustrated with real examples.

This book is an essential reference for students, board members, managers and others working in the human services sector.

Management of Spinal Disorders

Edited by Dishan Singh and Aresh Hashemi-Nejad; Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers; 1998 ISBN 90-5902-214-1This book looks at the diagnosis and treatment of common disorders and injuries of the spine. Chapters on anatomy and investigations are followed by specific disorders, including early and late management of spinal trauma, chronic low back pain and the spine in sports. Each chapter describes particular abnormalities and considers indications for conservative or surgical treatment, outcomes and prognosis.

  1. Fully referenced guide to current diagnosis and management
  2. Reviews treatment options and suggests course of action
  3. Expert advice from a centre of excellence in the treatment of spinal deformities

This book supplies the information required to make informed decisions in orthopaedic surgery and will be of benefit to specialists as well as surgeons in training.

Spinal Cord Injury: A Guide For Living

Sara Palmer, Kay Harris Kriegsman and Jeffrey B. Palmer; Baltimore, USA: The John Hopkins University Press; 2008 ISBN 13-978-0-8018-8777-2This book is the definitive guide for people with SCI and their families. Combining first person accounts with up to date medical information, the book addresses all aspects of spinal cord injury – recovery and coping, sex and family matters, transportation and housing, employment and leisure – and reviews the challenges encountered by people with spinal cord injury throughout their lives.

The authors explain how spinal cord injury affects physical functioning and the impact of physical changes on emotions and social life. They offer a holistic approach to recovery that incorporates all aspects of living and emphasises achieving optimal health, personal fulfilment, and meaningful family and social relationships.

This new edition includes a completely revised chapter on recovery and regeneration research, stem cell research, and activity based therapies. New information is offered on medical and rehabilitative care of children and adolescents as well as preventative health measures for people of all ages living with spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury A Guide For Patients And Families

Michael E. Selzer, MD, PhD, and Bruce H. Dobkin, MD; New York: Demos Medical Publishing; 2008 ISBN 1-932603-38-7The newest title in the critically acclaimed American Academy of Neurology Press Quality of Life Guides serie, this book is an authoritative and reliable resource for all those looking to educate themselves on the topic of spinal cord injury (SCI).

Written in easy to understand language, the book includes information on:

  1. How the spinal cord works and what happens when it is injured
  2. The benefits of rehabilitation
  3. Assistive devices that can make life easier
  4. A glossary with commonly used terms for communicating with doctors and caregivers
  5. Website resources that can aid in further research

Learning to live with a spinal cord injury can be a challenge. This book will help people better understand the medical basis for their disabilities, the current treatments and rehabilitative methods used to manage spinal cord injuries, and the research that points to hope for the future.

Spinal Cord Injury And The Family: A New Guide

Michelle J. Alpert & Saul Wisnia; Massachusetts, USA: Harvard University Press; 2008 ISBN 978-0-674-02715-2Spinal cord injury is frequently sudden and unexpected – through accident, disease, or violence, patients temporarily lose control of their bodies and, it seems, their lives. With rehabilitation, they can learn to navigate their world once more, retraining muscles and mind to compensate for paralysed limbs and diminished strength. But as Dr. Michelle Alpert shows here, there is far more to recapturing full, independent lives than regaining movement. Central to long term success is mending the family unit.

Combining Dr. Alpert’s clinical experience with patients’ own stories, this book is for individuals and their families who must climb back from injury: for the young couple, both tetraplegic, who wish to conceive and raise a child; for the paraplegic dad who wants to teach his daughter to drive; for the couple wondering how they can regain the sexual spark in their relationship.

The authors cover the causes of, and prognosis for, SCI through case studies, review common courses of rehabilitation, and answer the “what now?” questions – from daily routines to larger issues concerning sex, education and employment, childbearing, and parenting with SCI. Rich in clinical information and practical advice, the book shows how real patients and their families are living full lives after spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Desk Reference: Guidelines For Life Care Planning And Case Management

Terry L. Blackwell, James S. Krause, Terry Winkler and Steven S. Stiens; New York, USA: Demos Medical Publishing; 2001 ISBN 1-888799-49-8This accessible reference will help you to effectively meet the challenge of providing an integrated program of continual care to individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Broad in scope, this current and comprehensive source gives practitioners the tools and insights for competently assessing, planning and addressing long-term care and management needs. It covers all areas central to the life care planning process for people with SCI and offers a wide range of guidelines that can be used as a base for addressing the unique requirements of each individual.

Highlights of this easy to use desk reference include:

  1. Discussions of fundamental aspects of SCI, including epidemiology, functional classification, and complications relating to ageing with a disability
  2. Model life care planning (LCP) guidelines that will optimise an individual’s physical functioning, facilitate social independence, minimise medical complications, enhance emotional adaptation, and promote reintegration into the community
  3. Identifying legislative, organisational, and agency resources that are relevant to SCI
  4. Sample forms for a LCP interview and history, including questions for the primary care physician, nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and psychologist
  5. A vast variety of reference materials related to SCI management, such as potential costs, leading concerns and complications, equipment, demographics and more.

Written primarily for life care planning and case management practitioners, this excellent sourcebook will be equally useful to primary care and specialty care physicians, nurses, rehabilitation counsellors, therapists, insurers/HMOs, attorneys, governmental agencies, disability organisations, and educators, as well as people with SCI and their families. For an organised framework of services, recommendations, and requirements for long-term care management, this is your one stop source.

Spinal Cord Injury: Impact And Coping

Clive A. Glass; Leicester, UK: BPS Books; 1999 ISBN 1-85433-301-1The experience of spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating injuries which might affect an individual. A successful outcome depends on the extent of emotional adjustment and requires more of the clinician than just an understanding of the physical impact of injury to the spinal cord.

This book will help staff and professionals from all disciplines develop an insight into the implications of spinal cord injury and the role that they play in enabling the patient and their family to tolerate the complex and time consuming process of care and rehabilitation. It will also provide support to those newly injured and their families, helping them to place their own reactions in context.

Illustrated throughout with quotes from injured people, their relatives and care staff, this book will be invaluable to all those who work with people with spinal cord injury.

Still lives: Narratives Of Spinal Cord Injury

Jonathon Cole; Massachusetts, USA: The MIT Press; 2004 ISBN 0-262-03315-1In writing this book, Jonathon Cole wanted to find out about living in a wheelchair, with having what he calls “the doctor/patient thing” intervene. He has done this by asking people with spinal cord injuries the simple question of what is it like to live without sensation and movement in the body? If the body has absented itself, where does the person reside?

Asking his simple question, Cole discovers that there is no single or simple answer. The twelve people with tetraplegia (known as quadriplegia in the US) or paraplegia whose stories he tells testify to similar impairments but widely differing experiences. Cole employs their individual responses to shape the book into six main sections:

  1. Enduring
  2. Exploring
  3. Experimenting
  4. Observing
  5. Empowering
  6. Continuing

Each section concludes with a commentary on the broader issues raised. In doing so, the book moves from a view of impairment as tragedy to reveal the possibilities and richness of experience available to those living with spinal injuries. More universally, it offers new perspectives on our relation to our bodies. In exploring the creative and imaginative adjustments required to construct a “still life”, it makes a plea for the able-bodied to adjust their view of this most profound of impairments.

The Ghost Behind the Wheel

Lila Ridings Darnell; USA: 1st Books Library; 2002 ISBN 1-4033-1589-2Sudden paralysis is a circumstance none of us hope to find ourselves getting intimately familiar with, but such tragedies do unfortunately happen. A mother will find herself searching desperately for the tools of education when they are required. I was such a mother and could find no shared experiences written of by another parent. Eventually, I was able to sit down and put words onto paper in the hope that another mother or father would one day find my experience helpful during their own times of learning and searching.

The Spinal Cord Injury Handbook

Richard C. Senelick, MD, with Karla Dougherty; Birmingham, Alabama: HealthSouth Press; 1998 ISBN 1-891525-01-8What makes spinal cord injury so traumatic is the fact that while the body is immobile, the brain is intact. You know what is going on. You know the full extent of the injury. But because you can think, because you are still the same person, you can learn how to return to your life – or begin anew. Education becomes your lifeline.

This important source book will guide you through the sometimes overwhelming maze of getting back. It addresses your fears, your concerns and your questions with authority and compassion. In simple, easy to understand terms, you’ll learn about the six major arenas you need to understand and recognise for optimum health and rehabilitation success. You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, from specific range-of-motion exercises to finding the best wheelchair for you, and much more. A resource you will refer to over and over again, this handbook will become an invaluable tool for your rehabilitation, your care – and the rest of your life.