Drip drip drip

On a recent warm and sunny Indian Summer day, I was sitting outside when I noticed a dripping on my shoulder. There was no way it was coming from the cloudless sky above so it quickly became apparent that the sweat was dripping off my head, naturally moisturizing my neck and shoulder.

Early on after my injury, I wrote a post about the very first beads of sweat I experienced and how significant that had been so with this recent development, I figure it’s time to reexamine this vastly under appreciated bodily system.

One of the many, and I mean MANY, secondary complications of a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is the deficiency in body temperature regulation. Simply put, the nerves in the spinal cord that control perspiration to various parts of the body are damaged thus leading to a decrease or inability to perspire. Similarly, when a person with a SCI gets too cold, it may be very time consuming and challenging for them to warm back up. The comfortable range of temperature for someone with a SCI is a lot more limited than it used to be. As you could imagine, this can lead to many challenging situations and unanticipated planning.

In the 18 months since I wrote that last post, my ability to handle more extreme weather has dramatically improved. I remember my feet used to turn to ice blocks at night, even in warm settings, because of the lack of circulation. Sitting in the sun for more than a few minutes was just asking for hours of suffering, as my bone dry skin wouldn’t naturally cool down the rest of my body.

I can’t say that I’m anywhere near where I’d like to be but the sweating and the temperature regulation as a whole has improved dramatically. Strangely enough (or not so strange if you know a bit about the left-right imbalance that comes with SCI, stroke, and other neurological injuries), I sweat much more out of the right side of my body than my left. I no longer have to rely on a physically intense workout to get a decent sweat. If the weather is warm enough, the moisture will come out.

I have to credit swimming as one of the contributing factors to this. Getting in a pool a couple times a week and literally forcing my body to deal with a dramatic change in external temperature, only to transition again after getting out and showering, has made me more adept at regulating my body temperature. I haven’t yet been anywhere too cold so I don’t know if I feel as confident with that, but I’m sure I’ll discover that soon.

So the next time you sweat, don’t take it for granted. That extra layer of perspiration and body odor is what’s keeping your body functioning at its peak.

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17 thoughts on “Drip drip drip

  1. Thank you for this post. I train many folks with stroke. Sweat has not been a big issue but the swimming is. I have encouraged many of my clients to swim at least twce a week for those that can and some of the others to hot tub or sauna. I have slipped back a bit on this lately,so the reminder has tweeked me to get back to that good fitness routine. Thanks again. Arash.
    PS:I will start paying more attention to the sweat issues of some of my clients
    Vince.

    1. I’d be curious to know how the sweat issue plays out for stroke patients. I know it’s a big issue for most people with SCI. Glad to hear that the swimming is back on track Vince! -AB

  2. Drop by drop, inch by inch—so glad to hear about your latest advance! Sweat is wonderful, a way your body lets you know it is aware and working. And hooray for swimming too! Thank you for sharing this news—it is positively wonderful!

    cheers,
    linda

  3. Thank you for this post. I train many folks with stroke. Sweat has not been a big issue but the swimming is. I have encouraged many of my clients to swim at least twice a week for those that can and some of the others to hot tub or sauna. I have slipped back a bit on this lately, so the reminder has tweaked me to get back to that good fitness routine. Thanks again. Arash.
    PS: I will start paying more attention to the sweat issues of some of my clients
    Vince.

  4. I Arash! Good thing to make us think twice about temperature regulation; we tend to take to many things for granted.On another topic, I came acros an article about a new procedure for people in your “predicament”. It comes, the news that is, from a reputable journalistc source, here in Québec, Canada: Radio-Canada. A polish doctor, Dr Tabakow from the university hospital of Wroclaw, grafted a specific type of nasal cells, yes from the nose, and got some fantastic results on the first patient he operated on. The man got his spine severed 12 years ago in a fight and can now walk, asisted or not, I dont know, the article did not mentioned it. The original data were first publiched in a scientific rjournal called “Cell Transplantation”. If you decide to check on it to validate the facts, make sure to give me somefeedback. I have been following you for a while and believe in you. Cary on, your are doing a great job.

    1. Thanks for sharing with me. Yes that was big news all over the world. It was great to see this technology and to see where it will go from here. I think it’s the beginning of more exciting things to come with stem cell technology which until now has gotten mixed reviews for SCI. Thanks for the support -AB

  5. It was the same with Nick’s TBI.. the temperature regulation and lack of circulation… the blue foot. It took a while to get his body working again and made ecovering from minor illnesses where a fever ought to break a lot more challenging. We don’t realise how imprtant that factor is or how much we appreciate its retrurn to function.

    On another note… did you see this, Arash? 🙂 http://scvincent.com/2014/10/12/flying-high-2/

    1. Those are great videos Sue! What a great sight to see those skydiving feats. I remember the blue foot too and am happy that it’s gotten better now. -AB

      1. Nick found a hot tub with massage jets really useful for helping the circulation. Still plays up, of course… but worth a thought.

        Thought you might enjoy the videos 🙂

      2. I like hot tubs too although they kinda zap my legs and tire my out so I can’t stay too long. Those are fantastic videos. Thanks for sharing 🙂 -AB

  6. I to. Have sci and I am still in the process of recovery. My fall was down a flight of stairs. Mine was from c2 Thur c7. I am still in in treatment. It has been since July 13, 2009. But reading your story has help a lot , I still would love to walk, I have falling many time and I have to start over, some times my family does not understand . I am 72 years old and I am taking every thing a small step at a time

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