Standing, walking and running are important functions of human body which are not only essential for moving from one place to another, but for the overall health and fitness.
After spinal cord injury, brain gets disconnected with lower body and one is no longer able to stand, walk or run.
Tools used for standing after spinal cord injury :
With no voluntary control over legs question is :
how can one stand after spinal cord injury to acquire all the health benefits associated with standing ?
Different kinds of tools are used for this purpose; detail of which is given below:
Tilting table is the basic tool used shortly after spinal cord injury. It can be manual or electric.
Starting from laying down position, angle of it can be increased gradually up to 90 degrees with time and practice.
From sitting position, standing frame can make you stand in up right position. It can be simple or electric.
Standing wheelchair is a great tool that can be used by individuals of any level of spinal cord injury for standing with great ease .
You don’t have to transfer to any other surface while sitting in it for standing. Just with a push of button you can stand up any time anywhere and can even move while standing.
Standing feature is available both in manual and electric wheelchair but such type of wheel chairs are expensive.
4.KAFOs and HKAFOs
Knee ankle foot orthosis and hip knee ankle foot orthosis are used by individuals of lower and upper spinal cord injury level for standing and even walking with support of parallel bars.
Technological advancement has helped paralyzed people to walk again by the invention of robotic exoskeleton. Not used very commonly though, but with the passage of time, it’s design will improve and price will lower; thus making it possible to use by more people suffering from spinal cord injury.
Benefits of standing after spinal cord injury
Regular standing after spinal cord injury by using any of the above mentioned tools can have tremendous health benefits, some of which are listed below.
- After spinal cord injury one is at great risk of muscle contracture or permanent shortening of muscles and joints because of long term sitting in wheelchair. Standing helps preventing us from that risk.
- Spasticity can be very irritating in upper paraplegia and quadriplegia. Standing is a great recipe for spasticity reduction. Being a c5c6 quadriplegic my spasticity gets made when I miss standing for few days and when I start standing again my spasticity decreases and my body gets relaxed.
- No standing after spinal cord injury means no pressure on body’s bones thus increasing risk of bones mass reduction or osteoporosis. Regular standing helps reducing risks of osteoporosis.
- Standing gives great exercise to heart and improves blood circulation.
- Spinal cord injury individuals are at great risk of developing pressure sores because of constant pressure on bony areas. Standing removes pressure from such areas and prevents us from pressure sores.
- Standing improves full movement potential of joints, usually its range of flexion and extension known as range of motion.
- Prolong sitting can create various urinary system’s problems like kidney and bladder stones and uti etc. Standing helps avoiding such problems.
- Standing improves digestion and bowel regularity.
- Standing improves chest function and decrease risk of chest infection and pneumonia which can be very dangerous in upper level spinal cord injury.
- Standing reduces risks of lower extremity edema.
Keeping in mind all the above benefits. Every spinal cord injury individuals must try to stand daily or few times a week by using any of the tools used for standing.
If you are standing after a gap of months or years or standing for the first time after spinal cord injury , keep angle of tilting table etc low and stand for smaller duration and then with practice increase the angle and duration of standing.
In case you are feeling dizzy while standing, come to sitting position, eat something or drink and try standing again.