Document Type

Handbook, Guide or Manual (Third Edition)

Publication Date (Third Edition)

2009

Abstract

Introduction

Mobility is defined as those activities involved in getting you out of bed into a wheelchair, movement in the wheelchair, standing and walking. This is accomplished by first stabilizing the spine through surgery, external immobilization (bracing, traction or casting), or both, so you can safely move without further damage to your spinal cord. Following your spinal cord impairment, you are limited in the ability to move because of muscle weakness, immobilization devices, bed rest, or a combination of these factors. Since staying in one position for long periods of time can lead to other medical complications such as skin breakdown, infections, pneumonia and joint contractures, it is important to get you moving as quickly as possible, but in a way that is safe for your spine. It is very important for you to keep in mind that the amount of independence you achieve is not only based on the level of your injury and associated medical complications, but also on your motivation and effort in completing your rehabilitation program. Complications interfering with mobility include: contractures (permanent shortening of a muscle), heterotopic ossification (calcium build up around a joint), osteoporosis (loss of bone matter) and spasticity (over-activity of a muscle, causing muscular tension).

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