Anyone who’s woken up in a hospital bed unsure of what’s happened can relate: there’s fear and uncertainty about what is to come. But for patients who learn that they’ve suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI), that worry can be tenfold. Will I walk again? Will I be able to do everything I love? Can I go on to a lead an independent, healthy life?
Thanks to technological advancements, many patients are finding hope in the answers. Specifically, one medical device called the EksoGTÔ is helping SCI patients take their first steps toward a return to their normal lives. Below are a few ways that the exoskeleton helps with SCI rehabilitation and recovery.
1. The EksoGT increases physical activity.
It’s no secret that living a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for your health. According to research published in the September 18, 2018, issue of World Journal of Orthopedics, prolonged sitting may be a risk factor for additional health issues, like cardiovascular disease, cancer and an increased mortality rate. Unfortunately, when a person suffers from a spinal cord injury, life in a reclined position is often the only option. The EksoGT not only helps patients get up and moving, but also provides patients with a workout and range of motion that might otherwise be impossible on their own. By decreasing sitting time, they can also slowly build up their endurance, number of steps and duration of walking.
2. Walking again can provide psychological benefits, too.
It’s not uncommon for patients who could once walk, run and jump, to experience depression due to their health condition after a SCI. But that can change following rehabilitation and gait training with the exoskeleton, according to a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs . The study’s authors found that after training with the EksoGT, participants reported lower stress, improvement in mood and improved self-satisfaction.
3. The EksoGT increases gait speed and improves balance and walking distance.
Able-bodied individuals can easily forget all that goes into taking a simple step. Balance, coordination, strength, spatial awareness — they all play a part in moving from one place to another. When patients wear the EksoGT, they can slow down, let their brain process all those moving pieces and relearn the art of walking. What’s more, the exoskeleton activates trunk and leg muscles that are below where their spinal cord injury occurred. This, in turn, helps them with balance and posture shifts while walking. Studies have shown that patients who consistently use the EksoGT during their rehabilitation experience statistically significant improvement in gait speed, walking distance and lower extremity strength.
The best part about all this good news is that PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Corpus Christi has the EksoGT onsite. Patients and their families can experience the magic of walking and seeing their loved ones on their feet again.
While it’s no secret that recovering from a spinal cord injury isn’t an easy task, with the help and professionalism you’ll find at PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Corpus Christi, the road will seem less daunting. Don’t settle for care that doesn’t fit your needs or those of your loved ones. Learn more about the EksoGT, our doctors and our policies by calling (361) 500-0600. Tour our hospital at 345 S. Water Street or visit us online at PostAcuteMedical.com .
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