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Exercise following spinal cord injury: physiology to therapy

Authors Dolbow D

Received 29 July 2015

Accepted for publication 20 October 2015

Published 9 December 2015 Volume 2015:3 Pages 133—139


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hooshang Saberi

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Hongyun Huang

David R Dolbow

School of Kinesiology, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Abstract: Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can have catastrophic effects on individuals resulting in loss of physical abilities and independence. Loss of the ability to perform activities of daily living reduces the quality of life. Furthermore, decreased ability to perform physical activities decreases overall fitness and increases the risk of diseases related to sedentary lifestyle. Activity-based restorative therapies (ABRTs) provide an option to help optimize rehabilitation through the restoration of function and the introduction to physical activities via adapted equipment. ABRT programs are typically located in SCI centers, which limit long-term access to those not living near the facilities. Typical rehabilitation clinics not specializing in SCI care are able to provide modified ABRT programs, but lack the staffing and adaptive equipment provided in the larger SCI rehabilitation centers. For long-term rehabilitation and wellness needs, the placement of adaptive equipment in the homes of those with SCI has proven to be beneficial, although costly as highly technical equipment such as functional electrical stimulation cycles usually cost over US$20,000. Community fitness centers offer some possible options for long-term exercise through inclusive fitness programs but many still lack full accessibility for those who are wheelchair reliant and most do not provide specialized adaptive equipment or trained staff to meet the special needs of individuals with SCI and other paralytic conditions. It is important for health care providers to continue to advocate for useful and less expensive adaptive equipment that may provide exercise to paralyzed muscles and greater access and accommodation of wheelchair-reliant individuals by community fitness centers.

Keywords: activity-based restorative therapies, functional electrical stimulation, body-weight-supported treadmill training

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