Spinal injury is excruciating, both physically and mentally.
The majority of people often end up facing immobility due to spinal cord injury. There is also a chance that the patient will lose sensation in significant body parts.
A report by WHO states that more than 250 000 and 500 000 people face spinal cord injury every year, leading to a drastic life change.
However, the connection between the brain and other body parts can be restored with the help of spinal cord exercises, which are part of the spinal cord injury rehabilitation process. These exercises are critical for restoring neuroplasticity. The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections is referred to as neuroplasticity.
Spinal Cord injury and rehabilitation
The brain directly controls many bodily functions. Magnificently, nerves, cells, muscles, and organs all rely on instructions from the brain. And, the spinal cord can happily take credit for this.
Millions of nerve cells from the spinal cord connect the brain to various body parts. Furthermore, these spinal cord cells act as messengers, assisting the brain in determining the needs of the body.
Although it is an essential component of the human body and movement, the spinal cord is extremely delicate in nature. In the event of an injury, the connection is disrupted, and the cell is unable to respond.
Internal components such as ligaments, discs, and vertebrae protect the spine from damage. When any of these layers of protection is damaged, it is considered a spinal injury. There could be a variety of causes for spinal injury, including an accident, a sports injury, or a wound from a sharp object.
How does Spinal cord injury affect a person?
A spinal cord injury can completely change your life. This not only negatively impacts one’s quality of life but also increases one’s financial expenses. The patient may end up being recommended on bed rest for a major portion of their life or can suffer from paralysis. If the cases result in paralysis, the degree of it must also be determined; whether quadriplegia or paraplegia.
Other health conditions, such as bowel or bladder problems, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular or sexual problems, can also attack the body as a result of paralysis.
However, spinal cord exercises play the role of catalyst for spinal recovery.
Spinal cord exercises and their benefits
It is critical to engage in regular physical activity. It helps in muscle strengthening and regaining sensation. However, the outcome varies from person to person. Still, some of the common spinal cord exercises and their benefits are as below:
Stretching must be done on a regular basis to alleviate joint and muscle stiffness. Concentrating on all major body parts, such as the shoulders, knees, and ankles, is necessary. Before beginning on your own, receiving proper physiotherapy and instruction is critical. There is no limit to how many times you should stretch.
However, to begin, do it for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time of the exercise. It would be best if you also considered stretching before aerobics.
Exercise option: If you want to go for stretching, you can opt for yoga. Yoga is considered best for gaining flexibility and stretching. You can also consider the position where you need to lay on your stomach. Further, you can also use exercise band support.
Aerobic exercises are considered to be highly beneficial to cardiovascular health. However, before engaging in strenuous exercises, consider conducting a talk test. This test method attempts to determine how your system responds to various intensities of aerobic exercises. In low-intensity exercises, you can say a few words but cannot sing; in high-intensity exercises, you must take a proper breath pause before speaking.
For aerobics, begin with stretching and gradually increase the intensity based on your talk-test results. Everyone has a different level of tolerance for intensity. That can be determined using the talk test.
Exercise Option: For aerobics, you can consider hand cycling, rowing, circuit training, swimming, wheelchair basket, or wheelchair a briskly.
The primary goal of strength exercises is to focus on various parts of the body muscles and help to increase strength. This exercise divides the exercise’s focus into different categories without exaggeration. Rather than doing all the hard work in one session, taking small steps toward the big picture is necessary. Taking a day off between intense working sessions is also critical. These sessions also help to improve muscle control.
Exercise Option: If you are going for strengthening exercises, you can choose weightlifting. Though avoid lifting heavy weights initially. In addition to that, Yoga is also an excellent way to do muscle strengthening. You can also use different exercise equipment such as bands.
There are some more pieces of equipment that can help you to exercise. You can use straps for stability and balance, wraps to increase the grip, and electric simulators for injured muscles. There are plenty of exercise options where you can choose the right one as per your suitability.
Further, eating healthy food is also essential during rehabilitation after spinal cord injury process. Good nutrition helps to control blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It is recommended to eat small portions and never skip breakfast. It is also essential to consume poultry and fish while avoiding red meat for muscle strengthening. Immunity can be boosted by eating fruits and vegetables, which are high in minerals and should be included in your daily diet. It is also a good idea to limit your intake of processed foods. Last but not least, staying hydrated with water, juice, and soups is critical.
The ability of moving is one of the essential things that help us to calm ourselves. This being said, immobility causes a number of mental problems. You can, however, choose the best exercise for your condition with the help of your doctor and physiotherapist. Depending on the severity of your spinal cord injury, it may be slow or fast, but proper and planned spinal cord injury rehabilitation can help you regain confidence and mobility.