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“Locomotor” Therapy May Bring Movement Back After Paralysis

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Locomotor therapy is being used to strengthen the muscles of people with spinal cord injuries, experts hope that it has the potential to bring back muscle movement.

April 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — A former hockey player paralyzed from a diving accident has the opportunity to run again once a week thanks to a revolutionary spinal cord injury treatment. Another woman was told she would never walk again. Now she is using a walker at her home and riding a stationary bicycle three times per week.

“Locomotor” therapy is being used to strengthen muscles and fight infections in the bodies of people with spinal cord injuries. Supporters hope the therapy will give patients their movement back.

The therapy involves suspending the patient from the ceiling by a harness while two people move the patient’s legs along a treadmill. Another person keeps the patient balanced while a fourth person handles the controls on the treadmill. Volunteers rotate positions during the therapy session. Experts believe that exercise forces nerve signals to be sent from dormant muscles to the brain. The signals indicate that the spinal cord needs repair.

Christopher Reeve was a notable user of early locomotor therapy when he was tragically paralyzed in 1995. Reeve was able to regain movement in his left hand though therapy. This defied the notion that two-thirds of an injured person’s recovery occurs during the first two months following the injury.

Spinal cord injuries are very complex and the body is affected in many different ways. Each case is different. The spinal cord is responsible for transferring messages from the brain to different parts of the body through spinal never fibers. Spinal cord injuries often stop these messages from being sent, causing people to lose feeling in parts of their bodies. Physical and emotional changes also occur.

These serious spinal cord injuries are often caused from a traumatic event, such as a car crash or fall. While such an injury can be emotionally, physically and financially devastating, therapies such as locomotor therapy offer the potential to regain some movement. However the treatment can be expensive. A personal injury attorney can be invaluable in seeking adequate compensation for the costs of the therapy in cases when the spinal cord injury was due to someone else’s negligence.

Article provided by Friedman, Hirschen & Miller, LLP
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