Physiotherapy is a form of treatment that uses physical methods, such as exercise and manual therapy, to promote healing. It is often used to treat injuries and conditions affecting the muscles, bones, and joints.
Recent studies have shown that physiotherapy may also be beneficial for people with spinal cord injuries. In this article, we will explore how physiotherapy can help improve spinal cord function and reduce the risk of secondary complications. We will also discuss some of the most common physiotherapy treatments for spinal cord injuries.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury is a serious condition that can result in permanent paralysis. It occurs when the spinal cord is damaged, either by an accident or an illness. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents and falls.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,730 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the United States. The majority of these injuries (85.5 percent) occur in men.
What are the symptoms of a spinal cord injury?
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on the location and severity of the injury. In general, however, people with a spinal cord injury may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Paralysis: This is the most common symptom of a spinal cord injury. Paralysis can be either partial or complete. People with partial paralysis may still be able to move some of their limbs, while those with complete paralysis will not be able to move any of their limbs.
Loss of sensation: People with a spinal cord injury may lose all sensation below the level of the injury. This can lead to numbness, tingling, and pain.
Muscle spasms: Muscle spasms are common in people with a spinal cord injury. They can be painful and can interfere with movement.
Difficulty breathing: A spinal cord injury can damage the nerves that control the muscles used for breathing. This can make it difficult to breathe and can lead to respiratory problems.
Bowel and bladder problems: A spinal cord injury can cause difficulties with bowel and bladder function. These problems can range from mild to severe and may require the use of a catheter or other medical devices.
Sexual dysfunction: A spinal cord injury can cause sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction and loss of sensation.
Pain: People with a spinal cord injury often experience chronic pain. This pain can be caused by the injury itself, as well as the muscle spasms and other symptoms that are associated with it.
How is a spinal cord injury diagnosed?
A spinal cord injury is typically diagnosed using imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scan. These tests can help neurologists to assess the extent of the damage and identify the location of the injury.
If you look for physiotherapy in Burlington, our clinic can treat most neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, MS, post-stroke, Parkinson’s disease and more.
How does physiotherapy help treat spinal cord injuries?
Physiotherapy can help people with a spinal cord injury in a number of ways. First, physiotherapy can help to reduce pain and muscle spasms. Second, physiotherapy can help to improve range of motion and flexibility. Third, physiotherapy can help to increase strength and endurance. Fourth, physiotherapy can help to improve cardiovascular health.
Finally, physiotherapy can help to reduce the risk of secondary complications, such as pressure sores and respiratory problems.
One of the most important ways that physiotherapy can help people with a spinal cord injury is by helping them to regain some level of independence.
Physiotherapy can help people with a spinal cord injury to learn how to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding themselves. In addition, physiotherapy can help people with a spinal cord injury to learn how to use adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers.
There are a number of different physiotherapy treatments that can be used to treat spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common treatments include:
Exercise: Exercise is an important part of physiotherapy for people with a spinal cord injury. Exercise can help to improve range of motion, flexibility, strength, and endurance. It can also help to reduce pain and muscle spasms.
Manual therapy: Manual therapy can help to relax muscles and reduce pain. It can also help to improve circulation and increase range of motion.
Heat and cold therapy: Heat and cold therapy can help to relieve pain and muscle spasms. Heat therapy can also help to increase blood flow to the injured area.
Electrical stimulation: Electrical stimulation can help to reduce pain and muscle spasms. It can also help to improve range of motion and muscle function.
If you have a spinal cord injury, it is important to consult with a physiotherapist to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
What are some of the exercises that physiotherapists use to help patients with spinal cord injuries regain movement and function?
There are a number of different exercises that physiotherapists use to help patients with spinal cord injuries regain movement and function. Some of the most common exercises include:
Range of motion exercises: Range of motion exercises help to improve flexibility and range of motion. They can also help to reduce pain and muscle spasms.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises help to build muscle strength. They can also help to improve endurance and reduce the risk of secondary complications.
Aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises help to improve cardiovascular health. They can also help to increase muscle strength and reduce pain.
Balance and coordination exercises: Balance and coordination exercises help to improve balance and coordination. They can also help to reduce the risk of falls and improve functional ability.
How long does treatment typically last and what are the results usually seen by patients?
Treatment for a spinal cord injury typically lasts for several months. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the injury and the individual goals of the patient.
The results of physiotherapy treatment for a spinal cord injury vary depending on the severity of the injury. In general, patients who receive early and aggressive treatment tend to have better outcomes.
Patients who have a complete spinal cord injury may never regain movement or function. However, patients who have an incomplete injury may see some improvement in movement and function. With time and rehabilitation, many patients are able to regain a considerable amount of independence.
A physiotherapist can help you to set realistic goals for your rehabilitation and can provide you with the support and guidance you need to reach those goals. At Pillars of Wellness, we provide neuro physiotherapy treatment and other services such as occupational therapy, counseling, acupuncture, naturopathy, chiropractic care, speech therapy and yoga therapy.