Librarian's Picks: Spinal Cord Injury.

'Quick picks' from librarians at the National Rehabilitation Information Center.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is classified by where along the spinal column the injury occurs from top or cervical (c), through middle or thoracic (t) and lumbar (l), to bottom or sacral (s). Injury along any point in the spine can cause disability, from loss of feeling or muscle control, to paralysis. With the help of rehabilitation and assistive technology, it is possible to live a full life after injury.

For more resources, visit the Ready Reference page for Resources on Specific Disabilities or search the Knowledgebase. You may also download the brochure in PDF format at the bottom of this page. Disponible en español.

Health and Wellness

Spinal Cord Injury at Craig Hospital
Phone: 303/789-8308 (V)
Website offers educational information to assist spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors, caregivers, and researchers in the areas of health maintenance, lifestyle choices, and improving quality of life. The hospital answers non-emergency health related questions through their SCI Nursing Advice Line, a nationwide service, at 800/247-0257. In addition to answering questions, callers can request educational resources for healthy living with SCI.

Spinal Cord Injury Information Network
Phone: 205/934-3283
Center disseminates information based on research activities surrounding the prevention and treatment of secondary complications of SCI. Web site contains an extensive variety of reports and fact sheets.

Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC)
Phone: 206-685-4181, 877/334-3499 (TTY)
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) summarizes research, identifies health information needs and develops information materials for individuals living with spinal cord injury (SCI) and the people who support them. The evidence-based materials are available in a variety of platforms: consumer oriented PDF factsheets; slideshows on topics related to living with an SCI; and the hot topic module consists of resources to help individuals with SCI diagnose, manage, and treat their pain.

Information and Support

United Spinal Association
Toll Free: 800/962-9629
The National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), a program of the United Spinal Association, serves as a comprehensive information source for anyone effected by spinal cord injury. Referrals and consultations are available through the national office or one of the many state chapters. The website includes fact sheets, rehabilitation centers by state, state chapter information, and the Ask Us resource center. View NSCIA's guidelines on choosing a rehab facility at

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
Toll free: 800/424-8200
Advocacy and information association with brochures covering such topics as accessibility, legislation, assistive technology, and sports. Web site includes SCI related news, research and treatment guides, chapter information and Internet links.

Reeve Paralysis Resource Center (PRC)
Toll Free: 800/539-7309
PRC offers information and referral on spinal cord injury, paralysis, and mobility related disabilities, including a free 442-page Paralysis Resource Guide, available in multiple electronic formats and hard copy by request. PRC also offers a lending library, videos, multicultural and military outreach, and other programs to promote health, foster involvement in the community, and improve quality of life.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Phone: 800/352-9424
The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous sistem and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease through research, education, and the dissemination of information. The website provides information and resource pages on disorders/diseases listed from A to Z. Visit the spinal cord injury information page at

Rehabilitation and Therapy

NRH Field Guide to Choosing a High Quality Medical Rehabilitation Program
This guide was developed by the National Rehabilitation Hospital and Boston University to help patients and their families evaluate rehabilitation facilities and choose the right program to fill their needs. It includes checklists, questions to ask, a glossary of terms, and information on insurance and Medicare/Medicaid. The guide is free to download or order from NARIC.

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
Toll Free: 800/999-2782; 703/684-2782
APTA is the main professional body for physical therapists in the US. Their website includes a Find a PT service. Be sure to check out their Choosing your Physical Therapist guidelines at

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
Toll Free: 800/729-2682 (Members)
301/652-6611 (Non-members)
AOTA is the national professional association representing the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students. While they do not have a member directory that is serachable by the public, they do have a database to find a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R)
Find a FM&R physician:

US News and World Report Top Hospitals
Each year US News and World Report issues rankings for top US hospitals by speciality, including rehabilitation.  For information on the selection and rating methodology, see

Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Medicare offers search tools to locate a physician, find suppliers of medical equipment, and compare hospitals and nursing homes in your area.

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
Toll Free: 888/281-6531; 520/495-7080 (TTY)
CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of himan service providers in the areas of aging services, behavioral health, child and youth services, DMEPOS, employment and community services, and medical rehabilitation. Use thier search page to find inpatient and outpatient medical rehabilitation centers, spinal cord injury centers, and other facilities and providers.

Assistive Technology

Phone: 800/227-0216 (V); 703/992-8313 (TTY)
Provides computerized searches for assistive devices, products and equipment. Searches include distributor information and product descriptions. Fact sheets and information on catalogs are also available. The database can be searched from the AbleData web site.
An information resource providing up-to-date and thorough information on AT, adaptive environments, and community resources. The database is both browsable and keyword searchable.

SCI News & More


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