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Neurological Physiotherapy For Spinal Cord Injury


The neurological physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio commonly treat conditions such as stroke. Stroke is the single most common cause of severe disability.



What is a spinal cord injury?


Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of mobility or feeling. Causes of Spinal cord injury can be by trauma or disease. Damage to the spinal cord and loss of function is usually permanent. The level at which the spinal cord is damaged will result in how severe the effects are.


The spinal cord is the largest nerve in the body that extends starting at the brain. Damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a large bundle of nerves. The nerve fibres are responsible for all of the communication within the body. All of the information from the limbs travel via the spinal cord to the brain.


Physiotherapy is beneficial to anyone who has suffered from a stroke because it can help to treat symptoms that make an individuals quality of life poor.


Physiotherapy is beneficial to anyone suffering from spinal cord injury.


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Types of Spinal cord injury


There are two types of spinal cord injury:


Complete spinal cord injury


When a person has a complete spinal cord injury this usually means that they will be completely paralyse below where the lesion (damage) has occurred. It causes complete loss and is permanent. The can cause either complete paraplegic (ability to use arms fully but paralysed down) or tetraplegic (no use of the arms or legs, fully paralysed).


Incomplete spinal cord injury


Is the term used to describe the damage as not absolute. Some motor and sensory functions maybe present. The effects of spinal cord injury will vary from one person to another as the effect of injury depends on the lesion at the spinal cord and how sever the injury maybe. When a person has had an incomplete spinal cord injury this means that they may have either sensation or movement below where the lesion occurred.


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Effects of a Spinal cord injury


The effects of spinal cord injury depends on the type of spinal cord injury. There are various effects a spinal cord injury may have from extremely severe to moderate. A few of the effects include:


Loss of movement or paralysis


Depending on where the damage has occurred, it can result in different parts of the body not being able to function. The damage will have disrupted the signals that are sent to the brain to control the movement so no movement will occur. This will cause a loss of movement for those body parts or even paralysis.


Loss of sensation


Due to the damage of fibres in the spinal cord, the nerves that carry signals to the brain about sensation could have also been damaged resulting in loss of sensation. The different levels of lesion will cause it to happen to the different body parts.


Loss of independence


Depending on the nature of the lesion and where it has occurred, the reduction in sensation and movement may mean a loss of independence with daily activities. Paralysis may mean you can no long use your legs or walk from room to room any more. The individual may become reliant on a helper or carer to input with these things.


Difficulties with transfers


Due to the loss of function and movement it will disrupt transfers you may have found yourself able to do before the SPI. Loss of function in the legs may mean transferring into the bed or bath difficult as you may be reliant on help from others.


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Physiotherapy treatment for spinal cord injury


Our specialist Neurological physiotherapists commonly treat people with spinal cord injury. You and your physiotherapist will work together to produce a treatment programme ensuring you are getting the best out of your treatment sessions. Physiotherapy treatment will be specific to the type of spinal cord injury you have suffered. Some of the treatment may include:



The physiotherapy treatment approach taken may vary depending on whether you have a complete of incomplete spinal cord injury.


Physiotherapy for complete spinal cord injury


Physiotherapy treatment for a complete spinal cord injury will look at gaining as much functional ability as possible for you.

Our specialist physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio will work with you to maximise your functional ability and physical well-being.

Your physiotherapist may provide you with treatment that will help you to breathe better if you have difficulty with your breathing. They will ensure you are taught ways to handle your breathing problems as independently as possible. Your physiotherapist at Liverpool Neuro Physio has a deep understanding of your condition and can work with you to maximise your comfort.

Following a spinal cord injury your physiotherapist will want to reduce any risk of infection by teaching you ways to clear your chest. Your physiotherapist will help you with techniques to clear your chest manually as well as providing you with ways clearing your own secretions independently between sessions. Your physiotherapist will work with you in an attempt to maximise your comfort and reduce and pain you may be suffering. The physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio also understand any other complications you may be suffering from and will do their best to address these in the treatment programme.

Your physiotherapists want you to gain as much independence as possible. This may mean working on posture, balance and core stability. It is important to maintain range of movement in muscles that aren�t being used this may be passively done by your physiotherapist. Physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio can teach passive movements to your carer/family. This will ensure that physiotherapy can continue between sessions to maximise your function and independence.

For you to gain maximum independence following your spinal cord injury your physiotherapist will work with you on managing and improving your transfers. Simple transfers like lying down to sitting to help you breathe easier or clear your chest. Possibly teaching you and family/carers how to transfer from bed to chair. If it is required your physiotherapist will teach family and carers how to use hoists and manual handling techniques. All of which will try to help you feel more comfortable and reduce your risk of pressure sores.


Physiotherapy for incomplete spinal cord injury


Physiotherapy treatment for an incomplete spinal cord injury will look at rehabilitating you to gain mobility.

Following your spinal cord injury, our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio understand that you may want to increase your mobility within your rehabilitation. Our physiotherapists will ensure they help you achieve what it is you want functionally. Our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio want to improve your quality of life by maximising your physical well-being.

Physiotherapy often begins in the hospital but it is very important to maintain physiotherapy outside of the hospital for you to get the maximum benefits after having a spinal cord injury. Your physiotherapist will prevent muscles from tightening and promote joint flexibility which could reduce any pain you may be experiencing.

As part of your rehabilitation process at Liverpool Neuro Physio your physiotherapists understand that one of your primary aims after an incomplete spinal cord injury maybe to get back to walking again. Your physiotherapist will attempt to get you as much mobility as possible to make you more independent. If required your physiotherapist will provide you with walking re-education and any necessary equipment (walking sticks, frames) to bring you closer to reaching your mobility goals.


To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our specialists, call us on 0151 558 0188 or email office@liverpoolneurophysio.co.uk.


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