Spinal Cord Injury
Depending on where a spinal cord injury occurs, it affects various areas of the body. A spinal cord injury may be complete, causing full paralysis of the muscles below that level, or partial causing various symptoms or partial paralysis. With today’s technologies in medicine and rehabilitation, patients who have sustained a spinal cord injury are experiencing functional gains like never before. The management of a spinal cord injury is a progressive affair from the hospital, through inpatient care and finally outpatient care.
Since the nerves are one of the slowest regenerating cells in the body, improvements can be made months, even years after the initial injury. Furthermore, areas that are paralyzed tend to lose range of motion, atrophy and can affect posture. Maintaining posture and upper body strength is critical for spinal cord injury patients to assist with breathing and digestion. In addition, the ability to shift and move one’s body throughout the day is important to prevent pressure sores.
How therapy helps
Rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injuries can be a complex process, depending on the severity of the injury. Physical therapy and Occupational Therapy play an essential role in rehabilitating a person with a spinal cord injury. The goal of PT/OT is to promote as much independent living as possible, maintain range of motion, improve strength in the upper body and postural muscles, fit and coordinate adaptive equipment, as well as work with training family or assistants in proper and safe transfers. Occupational therapy, specifically, plays an important role in adapting tools and equipment to enhance independence with life’s daily activities. In addition, Occupational Therapists work with the upper extremities and hands to improve grasping, writing and dexterity with normal activities.
Our Bellevue therapists will work closely with you and your family to perform thorough assessments of your abilities and formulate a treatment plan that will maximize your function.