Regulating Your Body Temperature with a Spinal Cord Injury

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Alicia Reagan
Alicia Reagan
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Alicia Reagan contracted Transverse Myelitis in 2009 which caused her to become paralyzed from the ribs down. She has become a disability advocate and has made several YouTube videos to educate the public on spinal cord injury awareness. Alicia discusses temperature control in relation to spinal cord injury in one of her videos.

​Alicia Reagan smiling
Alicia Reagan smiling

“The thermostat that helps heat up our bodies and cool down our bodies is located through our spinal cord. So, when you have injured your spinal cord it messes all that up.”

Alicia states there are many reasons as to why people with spinal cord injuries have difficulty regulating body temperature.

The inability to sweat

The majority of people who sustain spinal cord injuries are not able to sweat below the level of injury. “We all know that sweating is our way for our bodies to cool down. So if you don’t have that capability anymore, you can overheat very quickly,” says Alicia. Alicia gives a few preventative tips on how to cool your body down:

-Carrying around a spray bottle to create artificial sweat

-Placing an ice cold towel around your neck

-Sitting in the shade

-Sitting in your car with air conditioning blasting


Circulation helps heat our bodies. Alicia states that walking helps regulate blood flow through the legs, and for people who sit all the time, blood pools into the feet in legs. Alicia says that while she is sitting in her wheelchair her legs can be ice cold in a 100 degree weather. As she lays down at night that blood start to circulate to other parts of her body. She equates this feeling to having ice in her veins. She says it takes about thirty minutes for the blood to regulate and then her body temperature warms up. Alicia’s preventative tips for warming your body up and circulation are:

-Attempt to move your legs around periodically throughout the day

-Dress in layers

-Heated Blankets

-Taking a hot shower

-Sitting in your car with the heater blasting

Alicia hopes to educate others on spinal cord injury awareness and maybe her tips will be helpful to fellow wheelchair users!

Check out Alicia's full video.

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