Community dwelling life- and health issues among persons living with chronic spinal cord injury in North Macedonia

Vesna Miloshevska Jakimovska, Fin Biering-Sørensen, Ingeborg Beate Lidal, Emil Kostovski*

*Corresponding author for this work


STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose was to reveal late health consequences and life issues after a traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) in North Macedonia (NM).

SETTING: Community dwelling adults with tSCI in NM.

METHODS: Persons that sustained tSCI in 1999-2005 were selected, physical examined and a questionnaire was administered. Descriptive statistics were conducted.

RESULTS: From 203 eligible persons, 40 agreed to participate. Mean (range) age at time of injury was 36 (27-75) years and time since injury ranged 9-20 years. Around seventy percent reported current health problems, of which pain and spasm (>60%) were most prevalent, followed by urinary tract infections and pressure injuries. About 30% had never been to a medical specialist and ≈70% had only once been to physiotherapy after discharge from the primary inpatient period. Only one participant had a fully adjusted home for a person with a disability. Those with most severe tSCI (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) A, B, and C) seldom left their homes. About 50% were retired and/or unemployed, 50% were working.

CONCLUSION: This is the first study describing community-dwelling persons with a tSCI in NM. Our study revealed that persons with tSCI reported health issues mostly related to pain, spasms, urinary tract infections and pressure injuries. They lacked follow-ups, experienced physical barriers and poor inclusion in the society, and lacked financial support. Therefore, they were often socially isolated and fully dependent on their families. NM is in need of structured rehabilitation programs and better adaption for persons with reduced mobility.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)245-250
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Spinal Cord Injuries/complications
  • Young Adult


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