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Spinal cord injury victims improve after scuba diving

People with spinal cord injuries in West Virginia may not be able to do the things many other people often take for granted. For instance, they may lose sensation in their lower extremities, thus making it impossible to move around without a wheelchair or cane. New research shows that the sport of scuba diving actually has therapeutic impacts on the bodies and minds of those with paralysis related to spinal cord injury.

A recent university study involved several military veterans who had been paralyzed. Researchers compared the individuals' psychological and physical measurements collected at the beginning of a scuba diving trip with measurements collected after the participants had become scuba-certified. They attained their scuba certifications in five days.

The veterans' ability to sense light touch increased by 10 percent, while their ability to feel pin pricks rose by 5 percent, researchers reported. In addition, muscle tightness dropped by nearly 15 percent, while motor functioning potentially increased by 17 percent. Those who had post-traumatic stress disorder saw their symptoms improve by a whopping 80 percent. Study participants had their spinal cord injuries for about 15 years on average.

Those suffering from spinal cord injury in West Virginia may benefit from engaging in scuba diving to enhance their ability to move and their comfort levels. They might also find comfort in knowing that they reserve the right to file a claim against any parties deemed responsible for their injuries. They may be able to seek financial damages, which may help them to pay for their ongoing medical treatment and address any emotional distress stemming from their injuries.

Source: The Washington Post, "People with paralysis explore therapeutic effects of scuba diving", Anna Medaris Miller, Sept. 15, 2014

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