Friday, September 13, 2013

Adaptive Equipment in Local Gym.

(picture from Turn to Ten website) I heard this broadcast and found the story to be a great read. What a nice idea - get equipment that seems to be similar to physical therapy equipment in a regular gym. This local 'Y' has an FES bike (functional electronic stimulation). I found a site from 'Restorative Therapies' with the same. The story I heard was about a man, a doctor, who was hit by a wave and suffered an injury to the back of his neck and was told he would never get off a ventilator or feel anything below the neck. Per the story - "So now he has sensation a little below the nipple line, which is huge. He's able to move his arms," said Witman's wife, Dee Dee. "He has biceps and triceps." This "functional electronic stimulation bicycle with an arm unit, and what it does is it basically works Dr. Gary Witman's legs so that they will function, actually peddle the bike without his help from his brain but actually having the muscles directly stimulated," said Luca del Borgo of the Newman Y.
From the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Paralysis Resource Center: Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) applies small electrical pulses to paralyzed muscles to restore or improve their function. FES is commonly used for exercise, but also to assist with breathing, grasping, transferring, standing and walking. FES can help some to improve bladder and bowel function. There's evidence that FES helps reduce the frequency of pressure sores. Two companies make FES bikes in the U.S. Therapeutic Alliances, Inc., which originated the Regys 25 years ago, makes the Ergys 2 ( Restorative Therapies, Inc. offers the RT300-S which is operated from the wheelchair without the need for a transfer ( RTI was started by Dr. John McDonald, the physician who got Christopher Reeve on an FES bike and who has claimed that FES helped Reeve get significant function back seven years after his C1 injury. According to McDonald, the FES bike can be more useful than just exercise. "We propose to use them for a totally different reason -- to promote regeneration and recovery of function." There is to date no support in the medical literature that FES affects recovery. There are some risks associated with FES. Fracture of leg bones is possible due to loss of bone mineral density. Also, FES can trigger autonomic dysreflexia in upper-level injuries. People with severe spasticity, contractures, or osteoporosis are not good candidates.

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