Before You Begin Your Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Program
There are some impediments to any spinal cord injury exercise program that accompany spinal cord injury. By being informed of potential setbacks, an exerciser with spinal cord injury can plan for success.
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Quadriplegics should consult with their doctors and rehabilitation team to arrange for an appropriate and individualized spinal cord injury exercise program.
Talk to your doctor.
Discuss your plans to exercise with your doctor.
* Specifically mention each and every one of your medical conditions and how you can participate in a spinal cord injury exercise program that is safe for you.
* Ask about deep vein thrombosis.
* Ask about autonomic dysreflexia.
* Find out the effects of the medication you are taking on your proposed spinal cord injury exercise program activities.
* Either the doctor or a trained exercise professional with certification and experience in clinical exercise should design an individualized program for you, so ask for a program, or a prescription and referrals.
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Potential Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Program Life Threatening Situations
Persons with spinal cord injury could face life-threatening emergencies during exercise. Deep vein thrombosis and autonomic dysreflexia are 2 conditions a person with spinal cord injury lives with that could escalate and cause problems.
The list below will link to more information about each of these conditions, including how to recognize the signs:
* Deep vein thrombosis (due to inactivity)
* Autonomic dysreflexia (due to the spinal cord injury itself)
If the signs or symptoms of these occur take them very seriously and report to a physician immediately.
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Potential Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Program non-Life Threatening Situations
There are several other potential impediments to spinal cord injury exercise program. These are more of a nuisance than anything. But with awareness, caution and pre-planning, you should be able to make it through your exercise session!
The remaining steps describes each one, in turn.
Orthostatic Hypotension – Getting Dizzy
Orthostatic hypotension is the feeling of dizziness you get when you get up too fast. Laying on your back with feet elevated should help.
Body Temperature Fluctuations
Body temperature may fluctuate without reason during exercise. In this case, taking the usual precautions for heat and cold should be sufficient to allow exercising to continue. They include:
* Dress in layers; bring extra clothes for colder environments.
* Wear appropriate exercise clothing.
* Drink plenty of water or fluids.
* Use a fan and water spray to help cool down.
Pressure Sores – People with spinal cord injury often develop pressure sores. Pressure sores are due to prolonged sitting, and they should be monitored. Wheelchair push-ups may be added to the strength training component of your spinal cord injury exercise program to provide relief (and strengthen the arms).
Spasticity – Stiff Muscles
Spasticity – With spinal cord injury, the body has lost control of the orchestration between contraction and relaxation of muscles. This causes much muscle stiffening. The opposite effect, flaccidity, may also be present.
Making a commitment to a sound flexibility routine is necessary to counteract the effects of spasticity. While strength training during your spinal cord injury exercise program, avoid too much emphasis on muscle groups that tend to stiffen more. Spending time with the legs extended may also help.
This article and video provides a general guideline only when it comes to creating a spinal cord injury exercise program. Questions, concerns and individual issues must be discussed with a qualified and licensed medical doctor for a safe and productive workout.
Spinal Cord Injuries exercising in the SF Bay Area.
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Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Program Resources
– Exercise in Rehabilitation Medicine – 2nd Edition
– Adapted Physical Activity
– Understanding Psychosocial Adjustment to Chronic Illness and Disability: A Handbook for Evidence-Based Practitioners in Rehabilitation
– The Psychological and Social Impact of Illness and Disability: 5th Edition (Springer Series on Rehabilitation)
– The Psychological and Social Impact of Illness and Disability: 5th Edition (Kindle/iPad Edition)
– Principles of Bone Biology, Second Edition (2 Vol. Set)
– Rehabilitation: Mobility, Exercise and Sports – 4th International State-of-the-Art Congress, Volume 26 Assistive Technology Research Series
– Medical Management Of Adults With Neurologic Disabilities
– Stem Cells in the Respiratory System (Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine)
– Spinal Cord Injury: Functional Rehabilitation (3rd Edition)
– Mayo Clinic Guide to Living with a Spinal Cord Injury: Moving Ahead with Your Life
– Spinal Cord Injury: Functional Rehabilitation (2nd Edition)