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Research Shows Spinal Cord Injuries Are Increasing

New estimates from three leading charities providing support to people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) show that the number of people paralysed by a spinal cord injury is much higher than previously estimated.

The Spinal Injuries AssociationAspire and Back Up estimate that the number of people injured or diagnosed with a life-changing spinal cord injury in the UK is approximately 2,500 per year and the total number of people living with a spinal cord injury is around 50,000. Prior to this research, it was suggested by many organisations (including the NHS) that only 1,000 people were diagnosed with a spinal cord injury per year with 40,000 living with a spinal cord injury.

Recent research from the NHS also shows that the nature of how these injuries are caused is changing too. Previously most people tended to sustain a spinal injury as the result of a motorbike accident but today other factors and accidents are causing these injuries. For example, more older people are sustaining these injuries through falls in the home and more people are being diagnosed with illnesses or conditions such as Cauda Equina Syndrome or some forms of cancer that can leave them paralysed in similar ways to those suffering with spinal cord injuries.

Reports also suggest that between 30% and 50% of people who have recently suffered from a spinal cord injury are able to access specialist NHS care and they are often met with lengthy delays. As a result of these findings, the charities are now calling on the UK Government to ensure that every person who has a spinal cord injury or a spinal condition has the care and support they need and deserve to lead a fulfilled and independent life.

Nik Hartley OBE, Chief Executive of the Spinal Injuries Association, said: “The revelation that there are hundreds more people across the UK that are now known to sustain a spinal cord injury every year is stark. But it is not just the increased numbers; it is the decreasing provision of specialist services alongside that, that is truly shocking. The NHS and wider government must dramatically increase vital and extremely specialist health care and support to the 2,500 people each year who are having to come to terms with a life of paralysis from spinal cord injury. We will not stop fighting until that change in investment happens.”

When Able2 Wear first began designing clothes for wheelchair users, one of the main groups of people we were adapting clothes for were those with spinal cord injuries. Our most important and popular item was wheelchair trousers and we soon discovered they not only had to be comfortable but also safe to wear with flat back seams, no lumpy and awkwardly placed pockets, and cut higher at the back and lower at the front with a shaped seat to allow them to stay on the waist without drooping at the back.

To fulfil this need, we produced a range of wheelchair jeans, zip front wheelchair trousers, and drop front wheelchair trousers. Over recent years, we’ve also developed our range to offer warm-lined waterproofs.

We understand that a spinal injury can be a sudden and life-changing event so our range of clothes have been specially designed to be comfy, fit for purpose and to bring confidence to those wearing them.