Every Step Kounts Recovery Program
After a thorough evaluation, an individualized exercise program will be created by our Spinal Cord Injury Exercise & Recovery Specialists, depending on each client’s needs. Our program will encompass all aspects of recovery. Every step is crucial to your recovery as well as a great attitude and willingness to try new ways to challenge your body!
Below are phases we have learned that are mandatory in recovery. There is no set time frame that a client is in each phase. Clients are usually in more than 1 phase at a time. This is a general guideline of the areas of progression your body will go through as it recovers. Every injury and every client’s body is different. However, it has been proven that consistent SCI training will improve your functionality!
1. Neuromuscular Reactivation - consists of stimulating your central nervous system. We will try various forms of stimulation like: external stimulation; range of motion -- active and passive, load bearing activities, specific stretching, and tracking exercises. During this phase, we are constantly giving your body different types of stimulus. The more stimuli provided, the better your nervous system responds. This is, basically, where we try to allow your central nervous system to reorganize itself so that the CNS can reroute the signal to regain voluntary function.
2. Motor Learning/Development & Stabilization - consists of learning how to move again. Think about the way a child learns to move. The first type of movement an infant is able to do is to roll over from stomach to back, then from back to stomach. The next progression would be to kneel, crawl, stand, then, walk. We are going to teach you how to move again!
As you are able to start moving voluntarily, balance and stabilization is critical. We are going to challenge your joints/processes with balance, accuracy, coordination, and stabilization exercises. We will use various fitness accessories to help you achieve a functional level of balance.
3. Endurance & Conditioning - is the work phase. We are going to do repetition after repetition, training your body for hypertrophy. We will grow your muscles in this phase by doing concentric and eccentric (negative “slow”) contractions, isometrics (holding certain positions), as well as focusing on breathing; so, the muscles are oxygen-rich to increase blood circulation and cell re-growth.
4. Gait Training - thanks to technology, there are specialized pieces of equipment called “gait trainers.” Through the use of harnesses, a person with paralysis can be stabilized over a treadmill or elliptical so that your body can still get the benefit of the walking motion and – depending on your body – different levels of weight-bearing as well. Research has shown that through gait training, your CNS has the ability to relearn how to walk.
As a person’s body progresses to being able to support its own weight and take steps, we will start them on parallel bars and help them take steps using various walkers. As your ability to walk develops, we are going to analyze your gait; so, we can see what muscles are deficient. We will target those deficiencies with various exercises to, ultimately, improve your gait.