After spinal cord
injury, many aspects of life change. A wheelchair can be isolating.
Attitudes of others are very important in accepting the person as an
individual, rather than the occupier of a wheelchair.
When damage to the
spinal cord is a result of an accident, this sudden onset usually
produces considerable psychological trauma as well as secondary
Skin Breakdown: Skin
breakdowns (also termed "decubitus ulcers" or "pressure sores")
are a major complication associated with spinal cord injury. They
occur as a result of excessive pressure, primarily over the bones of
the buttock (particularly the ischial tuberosities and the
trochanters at the hip). Following a spinal cord injury, there are
not only changes in muscle tone and sensation, but shifts in the
supply of blood to the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Additionally,
there is a loss of the normal elastic nature of the tissues
underlying the skin. Increased stiffness, vascular alterations and
alterations in muscle tone combine to significantly reduce the
skin's ability to withstand pressure.
Fractures: Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile
and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated,
osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These
also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and
wrist. The majority of people with spinal cord injury develop
osteoporosis. In people without spinal cord injury, the bones are
kept strong through regular muscle activity or by bearing weight.
When muscle activity is decreased or eliminated and the legs no
longer bear the body's weight, they begin to lose calcium and
phosphorus and become weak and brittle. It generally takes some time
for osteoporosis to occur. In people who use the
osteoporosis is not of a problem.
Unfortunately, at the
present time, there is no way to reverse osteoporosis once it has
occurred. The main risk of osteoporosis is fracture. Once the bones
become brittle, they fracture easily. An osteoporotic bone takes
much longer to heal.
Pneumonia, Atelectasis, Aspiration: Patients with spinal cord
injuries above the T4 level of injury are at risk to develop
restriction in respiratory function, termed restrictive lung
disease. This occurs five to 10 years following spinal cord injury
and can be progressive in nature. The quadriplegic individual as
part of a health care maintenance routine should have pulmonary
function studies at yearly or every-other-year intervals between
five and 10 years post injury. As the medical treatment of spinal
cord-injured individuals continues to improve, respiratory
complications of SCI are becoming more prominent. Adequate health
maintenance and protection from this complication are appropriate
and necessary as part of the long-term care of the spinal
Ossification: Heterotopic ossification is a condition not well
understood that occurs in acute spinal cord injury and consists of
the laying down of bone outside the normal skeleton, usually
occurring at large joints such as the hips or knees. The primary
problem with heterotopic ossification (HO), is the risk for joint
stiffening and fusion. Should the hip or knee become fused in a
certain position, a surgical release is necessary to allow range of
motion to occur. Unfortunately, it takes between 12 and 18 months
for heterotopic bone to mature once it has developed. Activities
that are used to prevent the development of HO include range of
motion programs and other functional activities that move the joints
within a functional range.
The GIGER MD� medical device is the best for preventing the heterotopic
spinal cord injury the nerve cells below the level of injury become
disconnected from the brain. Following the period of spinal shock
changes occur in the nerve cells that control muscle activity.
Spasticity is an exaggeration of the normal reflexes that occur when
the body is stimulated in certain ways. After spinal cord injury,
when nerves below the injury become disconnected from those above,
these responses become exaggerated.
Muscle spasms, or
spasticity, can occur any time the body is stimulated below the
injury. This is particularly noticeable when muscles are stretched
or when there is something irritating the body below the injury.
Pain, stretch, or other sensations from the body are transmitted to
the spinal cord. Because of the disconnection, these sensations will
cause the muscles to contract or spasm.
Almost anything can
trigger spasticity. Some things, however, can make spasticity more
of a problem. A bladder infection or kidney infection will often
cause spasticity to increase a great deal. A skin breakdown will
also increase spasms. In a person who does not perform regular range
of motion exercises, muscles and joints become less flexible and
almost any minor stimulation can cause severe spasticity.
Some spasticity may
always be present. The best way to manage or reduce excessive spasms
is to perform a daily range of motion exercise program.
. The therapy on the GIGER MD� Instruments
eliminates spasticity and reduces medication or makes it
Autonomic dysreflexia: Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a condition
that can occur in anyone who has a spinal cord injury at or above
the T6 level. It is related to disconnections between the body below
the injury and the control mechanisms for blood pressure and heart
function. It causes the blood pressure to rise to potentially
AD can be caused by a
number of things. The most common causes are a full bladder, bladder
infection, severe constipation, or pressure sores.
Anything that would normally cause pain or discomfort below the
level of the spinal cord injury can trigger dysreflexia. AD can
occur during medical tests or procedures and need to be watched for.
The symptoms that
occur with AD are directly related to the types of responses that
happen in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Symptoms such as a pounding headache, spots before the eyes, or
blurred vision are three direct results of the high blood pressure
that occurs when blood vessels below the injury constrict. The body
responds by dilating blood vessels above the injury, causing
flushing of the skin, sweating, and occasionally goose bumps. Some
patients describe nasal stuffiness and will feel very anxious.
Uncontrolled AD can cause a stroke if not treated.
The primary risk of AD
is stroke. It is a potentially life-threatening condition. If AD is
left untreated, the body's attempt to control blood pressure will
severely decrease the heart rate. This, combined with uncontrolled
high blood pressure, can be fatal. For this reason, it is very
important to treat this condition as soon as possible. The most
important thing patients can do to prevent AD from occurring is to
take good care of themselves. Patients should monitor bladder output
and should maintain a regular bowel program which fully empties the
bowels. They should also do regular
skin checks to prevent pressure sores from occurring and daily
movements of the whole body in the best therapeutic conditions on
the GIGER MD� Instruments to decrease blood pressure.
Deep vein thrombosis:
(DVT) or pulmonary embolism is a potentially severe complication of
spinal cord injury. As mentioned above, there are changes in the
normal neurologic control of the blood vessels that can result in
stasis or "sludging". Deep vein thrombosis in the lower leg is
almost universal during the early phases of recovery and
rehabilitation. Thromboses in the thigh, however, are a great
concern, as they are at risk for becoming dislodged and passing
through the vascular tree to the lungs. A major obstruction of the
arteries leading to the lung can potentially be fatal. Best
therapeutic measures to reduce or eliminate completely the risk for
deep vein thrombosis are when doing GIGER MD� Therapy because with the
GIGER MD� medical device
the whole body and all its muscles are in motion and the rate of
blood circulation is increased. The pressure in the veins decreases.
The blood�s viscosity is also smaller. The blood circulation through
the capillarie is also improved.
disease: Cardiovascular disease is a major long-term risk of spinal
cord injury. Spinal cord injury individuals live in general rather
sedentary lives and are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease
than the able-bodied population. Therefore, careful assessment of
cardiovascular function and the encouragement of exercise programs
are appropriate and necessary long-term aspects of spinal cord
injury management and care. With the
the patient is able to train his body in best conditions.
post-traumatic enlargement of the central canal of the spinal cord
is termed syringomyelia. It occurs in approximately 1-3% of all
spinal cord-injured individuals. The primary risk of syringomyelia
is a loss of function above the level of the original spinal cord
injury. For example, in a patient with a thoracic-level spinal cord
injury may complain to his or her physician of numbness and weakness
involving the extremities. The condition will progress with time and
needs to be treated aggressively through surgical drainage. Often
patients with early evidence of a syrinx will be followed to
evaluate the progression of the condition. Significant syringomyelia
is treated with surgical decompression and the placement of a
drainage tube into the spinal cord.
Cord Pain: Neuropathic (nerve-generated) pain is a significant
problem in some spinal cord-injured patients. Varying types of pain
are described in spinal cord injury. Damage to the spine and soft
tissues surrounding the spine can cause aching at the left of the
injury. Nerve root pain is described as sharp or may be described as
having an electric shock-type quality. Occasionally SCI patients
will describe phantom limb pain or pain that radiates from the level
of the lesion in a specific pattern that is related to injury or
dysfunction at the nerve root or spinal cord level. Various
medications and nerve block procedures have been described and are
of some use in the treatment of neuropathic pain following spinal
cord injury but our experience shows and proves every day that
therapy on the GIGER MD� Instruments is the best.
Dysfunction: Respiratory complications and infection predominate as
post-spinal cord injury complications. When the injury involves the
upper thorax, the normal breathing pattern is permanently altered.
The diaphragm does most of the work in quiet breathing. The chest
wall muscles (intercostals) are used primarily for deep breathing or
coughing. The abdominal muscles also participate in coughing. When
the intercostal and abdominal muscles are paralyzed, the entire load
is taken by the diaphragm. This results in poor coughing and a high
risk of pneumonia. Pneumonia is one of the most common complications
of acute spinal cord injury. Preventive measures are very important
to reduce the risk of pneumonia. These include: percussion and
drainage using gravity to assist; assisted coughing (also termed
"quad" coughing); abdominal binders (to increase the resistance
against which the diaphragm works); and early mobilization with the
GIGER MD� medical device
Involuntary control of bladder and bowel
Urinary tract infections
Kidney and bladder stones
Slow healing of any injury to
back to the top