Or program is based on the latest research and evidence of neuroplasticity. Contrary to traditional theory, current research supports the ability of the nervous system to reorganize and restore neural pathways to adapt and regain function following neurological impairment such as stroke and spinal cord injury. Complex activity completed frequently for many repetitions is thought to best facilitate this process.
Load Bearing Activity
Studies have shown load bearing activities such as crawling, standing and simulated gait training to have a positive effect on bone mineral density; reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis, developing pressure sores and motility increasing bowel and bladder function. For our high functioning clients, the goal of gait training will be to restore optimal functional gait technique.
Functional Resistance Training
The most fundamental component of our program, resistance training is used to restore muscular strength and endurance compromised by the neurological deficit following injury or the atrophy and detraining of unaffected muscles due to non-use.
All of the many physical activities of your daily life require muscular strength. Sitting up from lying, picking up a child, opening a jar and walking or pushing a wheelchair are accomplished only if your muscles are strong enough to overcome the resistance of the object being moved. Therefore, to remain as independent as possible and maintain good health, it is essential to maintain effective muscle strength throughout life.
There are many benefits of resistance training specific to SCI. The pull of strong muscle contractions on your bones helps prevent bone density loss and decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis. Resistance training may reduce pain, fatigue and muscle weakness, promote better sleep, improve mood and self-confidence, and assist in weight management.
Core muscles include the abdominals, lower and mid back, hips and pelvis. While essential for an efficient gait, a strong core becomes even more important following a spinal cord injury for breathing, coughing, bowel and bladder function, safe seated balance and reaching further than arm’s length in the seated position.
Range of Motion
Effective joint mobility is important to minimize pain and reduce the risk of developing an overuse injury or exacerbation of postural imbalances.
Following an SCI decreased use of affected limbs as well as tone and spasticity can lead to decreased ROM. If untreated chronically, this disuse can lead to joint contractures as the soft tissues in muscle, tendons and ligaments become less pliable due to lack of shortening and lengthening that occurs when a muscle contracts and relaxes. Regular passive and active stretching can help to prevent contractures through moving joints through their normal ROM and simulating shortening and lengthening of muscles.
Specific range of motion and core/upper back strengthening exercises are used to maintain correct posture or counter existing postural imbalances such as scoliosis and/or kyphosis, both common following a spinal cord injury due to increased time in a seated position and imbalances of muscle innervation below and around injury level.
Essential to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system as well as improve or maintain blood pressure and blood lipid/sugar levels to reduce the increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Integral for maintaining optimum health, weight and body composition.
One of the most researched techniques in the rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries, Functional Electrical Stimulation, uses an electrical current to stimulate peripheral nerves eliciting muscle contraction and functional motor patterning. This enables us to perform work with weakened or paralysed muscle groups to maintain or improve functional size and strength.
The research proven potential benefits of consistent FES include;
Increased glucose sensitivity and decreased risk of diabetes
Increased size and strength of muscles
Decreased risk of pressure areas