Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.

United Spinal Advocacy Action Center

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United Spinal is actively involved in advocating for benefits and regulations that are beneficial to paralyzed Americans and all people with disabilities.

United Spinal encourages everyone to get involved and be an advocate and activist. We can facilitate change if we join together and pursue it. Get Advocacy Alerts

How To Communicate With Your Elected Officials

To find your senators’ and representative’s phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses, you may use our searchable directory above or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators’ and/or representative’s office.

Writing Congress

The letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office. If you decide to write a letter, the following suggestions will increase the effectiveness of the letter:

  • Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter.
  • If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. ____, Senate bill: S.____.
  • Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.
  • Address only one issue in each letter; and, if possible, keep the letter short.

Addressing Correspondence:

To a Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
Rm.# (enter appropriate room number)
Senate Office Building
United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510
An appropriate salutation is “Dear Senator”.

To a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
Rm.# (enter appropriate room number)
(name of)House Office Building
United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515

An appropriate salutation is “Dear Representative”

When writing to the Chair of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as:
Dear Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairwoman:
Dear Madam Speaker or Mr. Speaker:

Telephone Calls

Telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress:. Be sure to ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue that you are calling about.

  • Identify yourself to the aide.
  • Let the aide know if you are a constituent (someone who resides in the elected officials district).
  • Tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: “Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose “___/H.R.___).” You should also state reasons for your support or opposition.
  • Ask for your senators’ or representative’s position on the bill.
  • You may also request a written response to your telephone call.

E-mailing Congress

Generally, the same guidelines apply as with writing letters to Congress. You may find and e-mail your senators and representative directly from this Web site.

To find your senators’ and representative’s phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses, you may use our searchable directory above or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators’ and/or representative’s office.
Telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress: