physiotherapy in case of spinal cord injuries

Physiotherapists assist and treat patients with temporary or long-term physical injuries, movement disorders or disability, aiming to achieve the highest possible degree of recovery, activity, participation and quality of life . Physiotherapists are active  in the prevention of illness and injury and in the promotion of health. The initial process of evaluating the consequences of an internal injury in an individual is to ascertain the status of the respiratory system.There are lots of injuries that may affect other parts of the body system apart from the specific area the injury occurred. spinal cord injuries  are the injuries which may occur due to sporting activities or vehicular accidents. If there is a fracture of the lower lumbar, there may not be any direct effect of such injury on the breathing condition of the individual or the arms therefore the patient will readily be in good shape on the trunk and arm area in which normal aerobic activity may be carried out. However, if an injury affects the upper thoracic or the cervical area, it is likely to lead to respiratory impairment of the victim; it could further inhibit the patient’s arm function.

spinal cord injury results in  unstable spine a case often leads to paraplegia. . The surgeon will work to stabilize the spine with the help of instruments as well as bone grafting. This process allows the victim to begin early rehabilitation without having to wait long for the healing of the spinal fractures. . The earliest management a procedure is to initiate a physiotherapy practice by monitoring the respiratory condition and to ensure that there is always movement of the areas that are unaffected. Also passive movement should be performed on the paralyzed parts of the body in order to improve as well as retain the range of motion of the body that will be necessary for later independent function.

The physiotherapist will gradually make the patient assume more upright position by making the back of the bad upright. This recovery procedure must be as gradual as possible as quick and sudden getting up can force the blood pressure of the patient to drop suddenly.  As soon the patient learns to control the trunk in sitting as well as in wheel chair transfer, the patient should be taken to spinal cord injury specialist department

other goals of physiotherapist while treating spinal cord injuries

  • Assessment of the respiratory ability of the patient
  • Teaching the patient the process for taking deep breath in order to fully expand the lungs
  • Making the patient cough to expectorate
  • If there is a paralysis of the lower abdomen, the patient should be encouraged to keep that area stable by stabilizing with arms in order to allow a propulsive cough
  • In cases of severe disability, the session would involve an external support for stability of the patient to aid the exit of air suddenly in coughing
  • Provision for cough assist machine may be used for cough provocation
  • For intensive care situation, there will be need for initial management in which a respiratory physiotherapy practice will also include a respiratory suction

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/03/2012

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