4 Rehab Exercises for overcoming a Spinal Injury

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Physical trauma mostly causes spinal cord injury. Motor vehicle accidents, a nasty fall off a horse or a tree, or even an injury while participating in sport could lead to the damage of the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a vital part of the human body as it acts as the link between the brain and the rest of the body. It transmits important messages to the body from the brain. If it is harmed, then these messages are not efficiently transmitted, and thus the injured part may lose sensation. The damage could either be permanent or temporary.

Patients who suffer from spinal injuries may have similar conditions but hardly do they experience the same emotions. What they have in common is the fear of what to expect after the injury. Among the possibilities that patients face are the inability to walk again, failed sexual performance, and inability to manage their bowel movements. As one adapts to life after injury, the following exercises could be beneficial in enabling them to regain their balance:

1. Walking
When the nerve bundles that transport messages from the brain to the rest of the body are disabled, the injured part of the body loses sensation. The lack of feeling results to loss of movement and function. Reintroducing simple exercise such as taking steps from their bed to the patients could help improve mobility. Taking these steps is no mean feat especially given that the patient would have lost sensation on their feet. It is no mean feat as the feeling in their legs would be gone. With the help of walking aids and a physiatrist, a patient could be able to make some remarkable progress eventually.

2. Stretching
Stretching improves flexibility on otherwise taut muscles. When one flexes their muscles, they reduce the possibilities of injury while working out. Select Spine & Sports Medicine said, “Some simple stretches such as lifting the hands beyond the head and reaching out ensure a better flow of blood.” The patient could start with simple postures then progress to more complex ones as time goes. In line with this is the respiratory function. Some injuries may make it difficult for the patient to take breaths as deep as they normally would before this eventuality. As part of the workout, the patient could incorporate deep breathing. Start the patient off with a normal inhale. They can hold that for a short time before releasing. As they progress, they can take longer inhalations and hold them for as long as their lungs can allow.

3. Cardiovascular activities
Swimming, pushing a wheelchair, cycling, rowing, and boxing as some of the exercises that aid in pushing the limits of the heart in a good way. Getting involved in activities that make the heart race helps patients to improve their endurance, improve the blood circulation, increase bone density, and strengthen the muscles. It also boosts their mood.

4. Weight training
As the patient gains their strength, they can advance to weight training. The focus is mostly o the underutilized muscles. If the patient is using a manual wheelchair to move around, then the chest and biceps are effectively exercised. Other muscles such as the triceps are therein left out. The patient needs to strengthen those muscles too to create some balance. Weight training could involve using resistance bands, free weights, wall weights, other exercise machines, and also helping out in the house. Start the patient out with few reps and light weights as you progress to heavier weights and more reps.

Spinal cord injuries may spell doom to a patient, especially as soon as they happen. They certainly disturb the balance of life as we know it and leave most patients with suicidal thoughts. The truth is that, as much as it might be impossible to regain the flow of life before the damage, there is hope and ability to build a new life. With counseling and these exercises, a patient can become independent and functional. They could even find new hobbies from these activities, such as rowing and swimming. Apart from the ability to move and be independent, these activities improve one’s social life.