The spinal cord is probably the most delicate part of your body. It is a single cord that runs from your brain through your torso. It is only ½ to ¼ of an inch thick and protected by fluid and cartilage. However, sometimes during accidents, just fluid and cartilage is not enough to protect your spinal cord and you may suffer a serious injury. The spinal cord is essential for your Central Nervous System (CNS) and without it, you could be paralysed. It controls all your movement and reflexes. The reason you don’t think before you take your hand off a really hot object is because the spinal cord makes it happen.
Because of the delicate natural and essential importance of the spinal cord, your mobility will be effected if you suffer a spinal injury. From pain and numbness in your extremities to loss of mobility in your limbs, partial paralysis of your body to even complete paralysis of your body, a spinal injury is serious at any degree of severity. With hard work and the guidance of your therapist you can gain back normal function from alot of differing spinal injuries. Severe spinal injuries may not allow normal function to return but your therapist can assist you in gaining back the highest quality of life possible for you.
After an accident, your muscles would have been damaged. With the help of a physiotherapist and kinesiologist, you need to learn how to get off your bed and into your wheelchair. With the loss of mobility in your limbs, you may even need to re-learn how to dress yourself. Even if you are initially bedridden, a physiotherapist and kinesiologist can help you move as much as you can on the bed. These bed mobility exercises will be important in your rehabilitation process moving forward as you recover.
Trying to regain mobility is another attempt at pushing your nerves to send out impulses to your spinal cord and force movement. Often, your physiotherapist or kinesiologist will move the limbs through passive range of motion to force a nervous impulse.
You will have to strengthen the muscles of the limbs that you can actively move, so that you can compensate for the loss of mobility in other areas of the body. Your physical therapist and kinesiologist can impliment a strength program for you that will target the areas where there is the most need. Exercises that target the activities you will need to accomplish within your everyday life. Exercises such as moving from you bed into your wheel chair, getting in and out of the car, maintaining standing positions and endurance as well as alot more.
Depending on the severity of spinal injury that you have, you may have to learn how to breathe again. Your chest won’t expand and you won’t even be able to cough like usual. Through physiotherapy, you will have to learn how to perform deep breathing and prophylactic chest breathing.
When you are completely paralysed, it is of utter importance that your physiotherapist or kinesiologist helps you move your body through passive range of motion exercises everyday. Loss of sensation means that your joints and soft tissues are vulnerable to overstretching, since you are unable to feel pain, so great care must be taken. Your physical therapist or kinesiologist will be able to move you through these exercises safely.
Living a life with a spinal injury is not going to be easy, but you can achieve so much and still reach for your dreams. With physiotherapy and rehabilitation services, you can improve your quality of life.