Friday, September 10, 2010
Standing Tall (almost)
My development in physical therapy should advance quickly with th acquisition of my standing frame. Everyday, sometimes twice a day, caregivers at my house strap me into this contraption, and they let me stand. Amazing it is to have one of these of my own, I am able to experience the benefits of weight bearing exercise in a whole new way.
In physical therapy, therapists had introduced me to weight-bearing, and how it can help me therapeutically. They showed me how, with a rattled nervous system, muscles in my body were working against each other. For example, I walked with a walker, and my foot twisted in so violently, I was risking permanent damage to my ankle and knee by insisting on walking. By taking Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, I was able to almost control this level of spasticity.
Still, I was not walking. Muscles have a strange trait; they want to be used. I believe this spasticity, aside from being a response to spinal injury, is aggravated by lack of use. The spasticity is a revolt of the body against itself. But, it can look funny to see me riding around city streets, in my wheelchair with my legs fully extended for no reason.
So, this is why having this tool in my own home is such a special gift. This is not an exercise where you have to wait to see the benefits. Standing proper, just one time about ten minutes yielded a relaxation in my legs that felt wonderful. The feeling is enough to keep doing the exercise. But, there are effects which are cumulative. This exercise will help to properly develop the muscles in my leg, will encourage greater bone density in my legs, and will help improve trunk strength i my back and abdomen.
I think this is a success.
Thank you for reading.-