Spinal Cord Injuries
Our specialist spinal cord injury service provides further 'step down' or 'step up' rehabilitation for complete and incomplete injuries as well as related conditions such as Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Do you feel you have more potential than you are currently able to achieve? Sometimes individuals are discharged from hospital before fulfilling their goals, in which case the 'step down' rehab would be appropriate. Once you are medically stable, we can provide accommodation that reflects an adapted home environment. At Oaksey House for example, several flats are suitable for independent living whilst others cater for carers and partners/relatives too.
If you have been living with your injury for a while, even several years, the 'step-up' rehabilitation may be necessary as your condition may have changed due to illness or the natural ageing process.
We maintain established links with spinal cord injury centres and the relevant medical professionals and regularly refer back in to them for reviews and input. Our spinal cord injury service incorporates active hands-on rehabilitation which is physiotherapy-led and gym based with plenty of occupational therapy input, to facilitate functional independent living.
What is Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury can result from a sudden, traumatic force to the spinal cord, resulting in fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae and damage to the spinal cord. It can also be due to disease, such as spinal cord tumour, transverse myelitis or polio.
Many injuries to the spinal cord don’t completely sever it, but the damage to the vertebrae cause compression of the cord. Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete, depending on the extent of the damage to the cord.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries:
An incomplete tear or lesion which results in partial damage to the spinal cord, with some degree of sparing of S4-5, the lowest neurological levels. This will result in varying levels of weakness and altered sensation below the level of the injury. One side of the body can be more affected than the other and there may be different symptoms on either side. Incomplete spinal cord injuries differ greatly between individuals depending on the damage to the nerve fibres.
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries:
Damage to the spinal cord that causes complete and usually permanent loss of function below the level of the injury including the lowest neurological levels of S4-5.
Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
Rehabilitation for incomplete spinal cord injuries can continue to be beneficial for many years, following the initial onset. At Hobbs Rehabilitation, we offer a variety of services for treatment, management and rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries at any stage. By working closely with members of the family, carers and other health care professionals we are able to co-ordinate treatment of each individual to help them achieve their maximum potential.
Every individual with Spinal cord injury presents with different symptoms and needs, depending on the level and extent of the damage to the spinal cord. Each individual will be assessed by their therapist and have treatment tailored to their needs and goals. Some of the physiotherapy treatments we offer can help to:
- Increase muscle strength through strengthening and mobilisation exercises
- Improve balance and mobility through assessment of different seating and mobility aids and postural re-education
- Increasing sensation through sensory stimulation
- Reduce muscle stiffness, spasms and pain through stretching programmes
- Reduce the risk of falls through balance work, gait re-education and training
- Treatment and management of the chest and respiratory system through advice, education on the management of infections, and exercises to improve breathing
- Increase independence and quality of life through management of positioning in bed and seating
- Master the techniques for transfers from basic through to advanced levels
- Practice and problem solve wheelchair skills in real home environment settings
- Offer individual SCI education
- Access Funtional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and identify which modalities are appropriate
- Trial and assess the benefits of the Exoskeleton as an adjunct to the rehabilitation
- Work on gait training including access the LiteGait partial weight-bearing device
Our specialist OT’s aim to improve areas of personal care, work or leisure that are becoming difficult. This can be achieved through:
- Functional activities independently or in groups
- Assessing function in a home environment and establish any needs for equipment, adaptations, or further rehabilitation
- Community skills: working on managing in the community (wheelchair skills etc.) via trips to the shops/pub/friend's house
- Hand therapy including splinting and exercise programmes
- Assessment of wheelchair set-up
- Advice and management of pressure relief through bed positioning and seating adaptations
- Management and education to help you to adapt and manage altered sensation
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Exploration of past and new hobbies & leisure activities in your wheelchair
For people with spinal cord injury our specialist orthotist, working with the team, can help by designing and fitting orthoses to best complement your treatment and rehabilitation. These include:
Following a traumatic injury or disease, people often find it difficult to cope with the sudden changes to their mobility, social life and overall lifestyle. Our clinical neuropsychologists can help to provide:
- Detailed assessment of a clients’ functioning in particular their cognition, behaviour and emotional state
- Providing advice, consultation, teaching and supervision to other professionals as well as family and carers
Management and advice for anxiety and changes in mood
Speech and Language Therapy:
Difficulties in speech and swallow are not often experienced in incomplete spinal cord injuries, but this can depend on the level of injury. Difficulties in written and non-verbal communication can often be experienced. Our specialist speech and language therapists can assit with:
“ Jemima is 28 and had a serious car accident in 2015 resulting in a complete spinal cord injury. Paralyzed from the waist down, Jemima has struggled with the reality of her injuries and, having been an Eventer before the accident, has used that ambition and determination to motivate her through the tough times.
For Jemima, rehabilitation is a full-time commitment and the results speak for themselves. She is working with the Para Dressage GB coach and hopes to start training properly shortly. Jemima credits her strength training and rehab progression for making this possible.
She has weekly neurological and sports physiotherapy, trains in the Eksobionics exoskeleton, does pilates and rides 3-4 times every week… There’s an awful lot of strength required for that!
But it doesn’t end there… Rehab matters so much to Jemima that she had landed herself a day job. She is now a UK ambassador for the Eksobionics exoskeleton, travelling the UK and beyond showcasing the benefits of the Ekso as a rehab tool.
As if this wasn’t enough, she represented Eksobionics at the Run In The Dark 5k event held by the Mark Pollock Trust at Battersea Park in November. Catch her blog here to follow her progress!
“ Ed sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury in April 2017, following a diving accident which resulted in a C7 AIS-D spinal cord injury. After 11.5 weeks in hospital, he was receiving 3 x 45 minute sessions per week in a specialist centre, which was not sufficient for his rehabilitation needs. He sourced additional therapy through Hobbs Rehabilitation during his inpatient stay.
Ed was keen to leave hospital, return home to his family and friends and continue his rehabilitation at the intensity he required to optimise his recovery. He has been fortunate to be supported by multiple charities and blogs about his experiences at: https://www.facebook.com/edjackson8/
It’s an inspiring read and depicts a rehab journey in its entirety.