She predicted that there will soon be incremental cures for problems associated with the initial injury to the spine, such as restoring bladder function or finding a way to help some people use shoulder and chest muscles to get out of a wheelchair.
Howley said there's also a lot of work being done in spinal cord regeneration, with new tailor-made, personalized drugs on the horizon.
"There is an enormous amount to be encouraged by," Howley said. "And it's so much better now than 20 years ago when patients were told, 'Get used to it.'"
Learn more about spinal cord injury from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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