For adults who suffer from spinal cord injury, the quality of life can be significantly reduced, often leading to increased dependence upon others. While many spinal cord injuries are the result of a work accident or an automobile accident, there are some that are attributed to falls at home or other traumatic events.
If you suffer from a spinal cord injury that has resulted in complete paralysis, your dependence upon others for care will be quite significant. Even with the best support and care, the treatment and management of spinal cord injuries is an evolving healthcare process that will forever result in changes to your life. Because issues such as muscle atrophy are of significant concern to healthcare professionals, many of your treatments for spinal cord injury will revolve around your lower extremity muscle integrity, even when there is no present cure for your paralysis.
Loss of muscle integrity, as a result of a spinal cord injury, can lead to many other health complications. Because your skeletal system requires support, the loss of muscles can impose damage to your bones and even compromise your health tissue. One of the areas of primary concern will be the gluteal muscles. As muscle atrophy of the gluteal region sets in, your pelvic and buttocks region may be at risk for developing pressure sores from extended periods of sitting.
In addition to the complications with muscle atrophy, the blood flow to the lower extremities is also often impaired by total paralysis and spinal cord injury. With decreases in the loading conditions of your lower extremity vessels, it is not uncommon for your capillary networks to become compromised, leading to further circulatory complications. Without proper blood flow to the muscles, further cardiovascular complications ensue.
If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury that has resulted in partial or total paralysis, it is important to understand the degree to which you need to maintain lower extremity muscle integrity. If you feel rather unmotivated in pursuing lower extremity muscle integrity exercises, you are not alone. With pressure sores at extremely high rates, many patients, with paralysis, are unmotivated to maintain lower extremity integrity. As a result, healthcare professionals are looking for alternative methods for patients.
The use of a device known as a NMES, neuromuscular electrical stimulator, provides for a significant opportunity to engage in muscle integrity exercises without much effort. With surgically implanted electrodes, you can control the stimulation of muscle innervations and promote the health of your lower extremity muscle groups. While the cost for this type of surgery is quite expensive, it may promote your long term health and reduce the risks for pressure sore treatments.
As with any spinal cord complication, it is important to comply with all treatment recommendations. While some spinal cord injuries result in permanent paralysis, there are some that lead to temporary or partial paralysis. Without regard to the type of paralysis, however, the issues involving abnormal tissue health, and the development of pressure sores, are a concern. Ask your physician about the placement of the NMES unit to maximize your lower extremity muscle integrity.