Introduction to Nutrition after Spinal Cord Injury
Nutrition is important to maintaining many aspects of health, especially when living with a spinal cord injury. Nutrition plays a key role in bowel regularity, skin integrity, weight management, and the prevention of chronic disease.
In the first few months after a spinal cord injury, muscle loss may be normal depending on your level of injury. The muscle loss should stabilize after a few months. Because of a decrease in muscle mass and a decrease in activity after spinal cord injury, your body may burn fewer calories and it may be necessary to adjust your caloric intake in order to maintain a healthy body weight. Staying at a healthy body weight can help you with your ongoing therapy, weight shifts, transfers, skin health, and can help with prevention of chronic conditions/diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. It is important to know the healthy weight range for your body and injury level. Monitor your weight and make adjustments to your food intake and physical activity to maintain/achieve a healthy weight. Refer to the Tips for Weight Management section for tips if you need to loose weight.
What you eat can also help with bowel regularity and bowel program results. Adequate fiber and hydration are important for optimal stool consistency and regularity. Refer to the Bowel Health section for further information.