When the spinal cord is injured due to an accident, a fall, a sporting injury, or a disease like polio, spina bifida, or transverse myelitis, it is known as a spinal cord injury (SCI).
The spinal cord injury may result from severing, compression, or excessive stretching/tearing. This is not the same as having a fractured back because a fracture does not always result in spinal cord damage.
Rehabilitation should be tailored to the patient’s needs, whether the personal injury led to quadriplegia, tetraplegia, or paraplegia. A suitable course of physiotherapy can be decided upon after the physiotherapist has completed their assessment and the patient has voiced their goals in order to help with overall rehabilitation and optimize healing.
Spinal Cord Injury Recovery
Physiotherapy usually starts soon after a spinal cord injury and seeks to prevent and manage respiratory and circulatory issues as well as the effects of immobilisation. Following this stage, people start their rehabilitation, which may start in the acute care facility but frequently takes place in a specialised spinal cord injury unit.
Rehabilitation takes into account the full individual and is concentrated on promoting optimum independence and aiding the client in getting ready to return to their residence and preferred way of life. To do this, physical treatment is essential.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury
Each patient should receive individualised care that is suited to their unique condition. A complete physical assessment is followed by the formulation of a treatment plan, which may include:
- Stretching exercises to preserve tendon and muscle length and minimise or prevent muscular spasms.
- Body srengthening exercises.
- The respiratory muscles training under the guidance of a threshold trainer at low load to improve lung capacity and avoid infections in the chest.
- Exercises for posture and balance can ease pain from poor posture and balance issues while also ensuring proper transfer skills (in and out of a wheelchair, bed, bathroom, automobile, etc.).
- Functional exercises help strengthen basic movement patterns including rolling over, sitting up, and, when necessary, standing.
- If the legs have enough strength and muscle activity, walking can be re-educated.
Benefits of Physiotherapy Following a Spinal Cord Injury
The patient’s rehabilitation is the primary focus of the Spinal Cord Injury treatment.
The best physical activities for improving hand functions are those that are task-specific. Recent studies demonstrate that such training enhances the arm and hand’s activity level and function.
Exercises like treadmill gait and electrical stimulation during gait should be practised to rebuild or maintain muscular mass in the legs. Physical or cardiovascular tasks can be advised in order to profit from various benefits in addition to bone strengthening. Circulatory exercises before standing up might be beneficial for the simulation of blood flow.
There’s a chance the patient has lost feeling and strength in some bodily areas. A physiotherapist will be able to strengthen other parts of the body to make up for any weakened areas that have developed due to lack of use.
Some spinal injury sufferers may experience breathing difficulties, particularly if the cervical and thoracic regions of the spine have been damaged.
Depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury, restoring mobility is one crucial area where a physiotherapist may help. For the person, this may entail learning new muscle groups to strengthen or using assistive devices like crutches, a wheelchair, or a walking frame.
Physiotherapy management of spinal cord injury
A physiotherapist will work with persons who have a Spinal Cord Injury to prevent problems and further enhance their function, independence, and capacity to engage in daily activities at home, at work, in the community, in sport, and for pleasure.
At Caring Hands Physiotherapy, your therapist will create a programme specifically for you if you have a Spinal Cord Injury. This means that each person’s spinal cord injury rehabilitation will be slightly different. Physiotherapy for people with Spinal Cord Injury may also include the prescription of assistive devices, such as mobility aids, depending on your needs and goals.