Did you know that more than 288,000 people in the US are living with spinal cord injury? Yes, this is accurate data released by the National Spinal Cord Injury Database. What’s scarier is that about 17,000 new SCI are reported every year. So, what is this SCI? How does it affect the patient general and social life? And can physical therapy in any way improve the lives of patients living with SCI? Keep reading to know if and how the physical therapy can be of any help to SCI patients.
What Is SCI (spinal cord injury)?
SCI is any condition that results in temporary or permanent changes in the structure and functionality of the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a significant body structure in humans. It plays critical roles in the body, and an injury can widely impact how it operates based on the injury’s location. Cervical SCI is considered the most severe injury type, affecting a large proportion of the body organs, including the limbs function, trunk muscles, and general body posture. However, even within that framework, there are more variations in injuries depending on the injured area and injury level (whether permanent or partial damage).
Common Effects of SCI
SCI symptoms are different and unique in every patient. For instance, one person with SCI may walk normally while another may need supporting devices such as a wheelchair or cane to walk. Although, majority of SCI patients undergo rehab sessions, which aids the recovery process, few don’t attend. Physical therapy is advocated to SCI patients, for it has many benefits, as we will see below.
Here are the possible effects of SCI:
- Weak Muscles
- Numbness on legs or arms
- Paralysis in all four limbs
- Sexual function changes
- Body fatigue
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Change in muscle tone
- Body pain
How to Live after Inpatient Treatment
Most SCI patients, after being discharged from their initial therapy treatment, do not attend further treatments. Even those who undergo outpatient treatment are never aware that they need regular checkups with physical therapists. Periodic reassessment is crucial as it helps prevent regression and formulate a personalized exercise program that ensures individuals with SCI maintain optimal health and wellness.
How Physical Therapy Programs Help in Spinal Cord Injury Treatment?
A Neurological Physical Therapist is a specialist with broad knowledge and skills on how SCI can affect your body, the adaptive equipment to use, and understands the secondary complications that follow SCI. For comprehensive assessment, visit 1 on 1 Physical Therapy Center. Here, the Physical Therapists will develop a personalized Spinal Cord injury treatment for you that may include:
- Movement and balance treatmentWays to relief painCaregiver educationWays to manage bladder and bowel issuesUpdating and developing adaptive exercise programsEvaluate the need for braces
The need for routine physical therapy can never be underestimated. Your Physical Therapist can evaluate your condition. Depending on your situation, he/she can optimize your treatment and update the exercise program, which, in turn, improves the efficiency of your movement pattern. Staying active can vastly impact one’s health, and this has been shown to improve the cardiometabolic function of SCI patients. A study carried out in 2015 suggested that physical therapies in SCI patients have a neuroprotective effect that reliefs pain.
Why Choose 1 on 1 Therapy?
As seen above, the importance of regular physical therapy after being discharged from an inpatient facility is vital. With a high number of SCI patients to be attended daily, many in-network outpatient clinics in Asheville NC do not offer patients enough time to consult with their therapist. This is what separates us from other clinics. With us, every client is allocated 60 minutes of uninterrupted session with his/her PT.
If you or anyone you know is coping with SCI symptoms, contact us today to schedule a physical therapy appointment with one of our experienced therapists.