SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Our Exercise Programs
First Steps customizes programs for clients based on their requirements and level of injury. In order to stimulate the body to “get around” the injury, all parts of the body are included in exercises. In some cases this is done manually or through the proper application of specialized equipment. The goal of the therapy is to get the body to realize that it needs to reconnect to the injured area (neuro-plasticity) by whatever means it has available in order to regain function.
This can be a slow process to begin with, but it seems at around the 6 month mark that nerves begin to refire and feeling in body parts begins to come back. However, there is no realistic way to predict how much function can be regained. Much of it seems to depend on the motivation of the client. Clients that seem to make the most progress are typically being treated at First Steps and then following our recommendations while at home. The home exercise programs complement the treatment programs being done in the First Steps facility and generally seem to lead to greater gains for the client.
Walking, Quality of Life and Functional Gains
The goal of First Steps is to get our clients as mobile as possible. In some cases this means actually walking again after a SCI. Even if clients aren’t able to walk again, the functional gains made at First Steps lead to a much better quality of life. Gains made can include lessening dependence or doing away with medications, the ability to perform functions such as feeding yourself or doing transfers or lifts that had previously required a caregiver. All of these add up to increased independence and better quality of life for the client.
The other notable gain at First Steps is in mental health. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat depression or anxiety and all First Steps clients will attest to the fact that mental health is important for people suffering a SCI. At First Steps you’re considered part of our extended family.