Your spinal cord injury (SCI) may affect many parts of your body, including your lungs. Loss of function in the muscles needed for breathing can make it hard to breathe and cough, which can lead to lung infections and pneumonia.
Depending on the level of your injury, you may or may not have lost all or partial control of your breathing muscles. If you have lost all control of your breathing muscles, you may be dependent on a ventilator to help you breathe.
If you have lost partial control of your breathing muscles, it is important to take the necessary steps to help keep your lungs healthy.
Perform breathing exercises. Help strengthen your breathing muscles by practicing breathing out forcefully.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking can increase your risk of lung-related infections and diseases.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of pneumonia. Talk to your physician about getting vaccinated against pneumonia and be sure to seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms of pneumonia.
Try different coughing techniques. Learning how to forcefully cough can help loosen and bring up mucus sitting in your lungs. If you are unable to cough, talk to your physician about ways to bring up the mucus in your lungs.
Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Maintaining a healthy diet can help keep you from gaining weight, which can cause additional work for your lungs. Drinking water can help keep the much in your lungs thin and easier to cough up.
As always, you should consult your physician before trying new breathing or coughing exercises or if you are experiencing symptoms associated with a lung-related illness.
Source: www.webmd.com, Accessed: 8/10/17