Nutrition and Spinal Cord Injury
This a series of videos features nutritionist Joanne Smith, B.A., BRT Dip, CNP, talking about nutrition after spinal cord injury and how to use diet to combat common secondary complications. Topics covered include cardiovascular disease, bladder infections, constipation, weight loss and pressure sores.
- Course Objectives - Introduction (5 min)
It is common for people with spinal cord injuries to have poor diets following injury. Factors such as a change in economic status, reduced mobility and changes in digestive function, dexterity and fatigue can all play a role. Poor nutrition can contribute to the development of common secondary complications of spinal cord injury. This module introduces the importance of nutrition for people with spinal cord injuries in reducing and preventing health problems such as cardiovascular disease, bladder infections, constipation, weight loss and pressure sores.
- Bladder Infections (5 min)
Bladder infections (also known as urinary tract infections or UTIs) are the most common and costly secondary health complication of spinal cord injury and can lead to problems with kidney stones, autonomic dysreflexia and sepsis among other things. This video presents nutritional recommendations for preventing and addressing UTIs including boosting the immune system, reducing refined sugars, increasing daily flow of urine, introducing probiotics and eating other “bladder healthy” foods.
- Bowel Dysfunction (8 min)
Many people experience bowel dysfunction after sustaining a spinal cord injury. From constipation, diarrhea, bloating, bowel accidents and hemorrhoids to bowel obstruction – bowel complications are the main gastrointestinal complaint following injury. This video presents nutritional recommendations and effective methods for maintaining a regular and efficient bowel routine following spinal cord injury, including consumption of enzyme-rich foods, stimulating peristalsis, and increasing fibre, healthy fats and probiotics.
- Cardiovascular Disease (8 min)
Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, is the number one killer of people with spinal cord injuries. Increased cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, reduced physical activity and blood pressure abnormalities as well as other factors all contribute to this increased risk for people with spinal cord injuries. This video presents nutritional recommendations for preventing or managing heart disease, including increasing healthy fats, antioxidant levels, fibre and plant sterols, reducing sugar intake and ensuring adequate levels of magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins.
- Pressure Sores (12 min)
Pressure sores are a common secondary complication in people with spinal cord injuries. Although they are preventable, up to ninety five per cent of people with an SCI will experience a pressure sore in their lifetime, and the risk of recurrence increases with each sore. This module presents nutritional recommendations for maintaining skin integrity and improving wound healing time, including increasing calories, protein and amino acids; monitoring fluid intake, enhancing circulation and eliminating processed foods.
This video series will appeal to individuals serving and supporting people with spinal cord injuries and other mobility disabilities looking to build awareness of nutrition and prevention of secondary complications.
About the Instructor
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario is a leader in providing support, services and advocacy for and with people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. We have partnered with rehab facilities and health care professionals for more than 70 years in support of our clients and in pursuit of our vision: people with spinal cord injuries living the life they choose in a fully inclusive Ontario.
Joanne Smith B.A., BRT Dip, C.N.P
Joanne is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, holds a degree in psychology from York University, as well as a diploma in radio & television broadcasting from Seneca College. As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Joanne runs a successful nutrition business specializing in providing optimal nutritional health for people with neurological conditions (spinal cord and brain injuries), digestive dysfunction and weight loss. Her expertise in the disability community comes from her personal experience of living with a spinal cord injury for twenty-five years, as well as her years as host and producer of two national television programs that focus on telling in-depth stories about Canadians with disabilities, the Gemini Award-winning CBC show Moving On, and Accessibility in Action. Joanne’s dedication to raising awareness and improving the lives of Canadians with disabilities led to her receipt of the King Clancy Award in 2006, induction into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2007 and being honoured with the Gabriel Award in 2008.
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