Information For Important Work Decisions
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Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury

Adjust Physical Demands: Strength, Climbing, Balancing, Stooping, Kneeling, Crouching, Crawling, Reaching, Handling, Fingering, and Feeling

Adjust Environmental Conditions: Exposure to Weather, Extreme Heat or Cold, Wetness/Humidity, Vibration, Atmosphere, Moving Parts, Electric Shock, High Places, Explosion, Toxic or other Hazards

Adjust Aptitudes: K, F, M, and E 

Rationale: Whether congenital, traumatic, or developmental, impairment of the proper functioning of the spinal cord has severely limiting effects on occupational options. Sensitivity to environmental conditions increases with the level of the lesion. Consider changes in cognitive characteristics, especially if the injury had a traumatic onset. Avoid too many restrictions, especially in Strength, Reaching, and Handling, since very few occupations can emerge from too many filters. Think in terms of function at maximum medical improvement (MMI). Training/re-training is quite likely to be needed.

Impact: Study the impact statements for One Hand/One Arm Jobs, Overhead Reaching, and Knee and Ankle Injuries. Certain environmental restrictions can help to minimize complications that often occur with this type of impairment, such as decubitus and reduced respiratory capacity.

For rehabilitation planning, be creative and perhaps less restrictive than medically indicated. For example, set Strength = Light to open up far more options, many of which might be possible with selective placement, job modification, or assistive technology. 

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