Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for those with Spinal Cord Injury

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Hello there! My name is Talal and I am a trainer at Walk It Off Spinal Cord Recovery and Wellness Centre in Newmarket.  I would like to share information regarding one of the training modalities we use with our spinal cord injury clients called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

After a spinal cord injury, many individuals will have weaker muscles or muscles that can only be activated through external stimulation. We use two techniques to stimulate contraction: Nervous System Activation Technique (NSAT-discussed in our previous blog) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS). EMS is a modality that is used by placing electrodes over the skin of a targeted muscle group and then a current is passed through to generate muscle contractions.

As an able bodied individual, muscle contractions are produced through electrical signals generated by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and carried to the effecter muscle for the desired movement/contraction. With a spinal cord injury, this pathway is compromised and the muscles below the lesion or injury site may experience atrophy, seen as weakening and a decrease in muscle mass.

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Walk It Off is fortunate to possess the only Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Ergometer north of Toronto. This specialized bike allows us to provide EMS in a way that allows the individual to pedal with their feet or cycle with their arms using their own muscle contractions.

FES is a great method to provide an external stimulus to muscles that are inactive or weaker below the lesion (injury) level. It is important to note that muscle contractions are necessary to maintain healthy muscle mass, promote blood circulation, decrease/stop and in some cases, reverse loss of bone density, and lastly increase venous blood and lymphatic return to the heart; all part of reducing secondary complications associated with spinal cord injuries.

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Here at Walk it Off, our trainers are qualified and trained in assessing clients and programming their rehabilitation to provide a balanced functional eustress (good stress) to the body to elicit a training effect that positively influences daily life. Furthermore, our trainers work closely with clients to identify what strengths and weakness can be influenced by various modalities.

If you have further questions regarding the mechanism of FES stimulation or other modalities used at Walk it off, please contact us!  We would love to hear from you. We welcome your feedback too. You can connect with us via telephone or email, or leave a comment right here on the site.

Until next time,

Talal

 

Nervous System Activation Technique (NSAT) for Spinal Cord Injuries

NSATHi, I’m Ashley, one of the SCI Recovery Trainers at Walk It Off. We use a variety of equipment and exercise techniques that provide a wide range of health benefits to our Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) clients. One method that makes the Walk It Off experience unique is Nervous System Activation Technique (NSAT).

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2 New Trainers Welcomed to the Walk it Off Team

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Spring marks growth and new beginnings at Walk it Off Spinal Cord Recovery and Wellness Centre as we announce the addition of two new Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Recovery Trainers to our team; Talal Chaudhry and Ashley Richardson.

Talal is a recent graduate of the Kinesiology and Health Science program at Brock University. Talal brings clinical experience working with SCIs. As part of his studies, he worked in the Power Cord Exercise Program lab at the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Wellbeing. The goal of the Power Cord program is to promote healthy living through exercise for those living with SCIs. Talal is a devoted rugby fan who served as an Athletic Trainer for the Brock Badgers rugby team. In his spare time, he acts as a referee for the Ontario Rugby Union.

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4th Annual 5K Run-Walk-&-Roll for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery

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Walk If Off will be holding our 4th Annual 5K Run-Walk-&-Roll for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Newmarket, Ontario. This is a chip-timed event for all who want to race. Walkers and Rollers can come out and get some exercise for a good cause (strollers and leashed pets are welcome). Walk It Off asks for pledge collection from our participants to help our cause but we also offer the option for participants to collect pledges for specific Walk It off clients. One hundred percent of Pledge collections for Walk It Off clients go directly on credit to that individual’s account at Walk It Off.

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Walk It Off Spinal Cord Wellness Centre Celebrates 2 Years!

Walk it Off Spinal Cord Recovery CentreWalk It Off (WIO) fundraised for 1-1/2 years to reach the goal of $30,000 to officially open the doors to the facility. Since that date, we look back on the accomplishments of our organization and our clients as we celebrate 2 years of operation.

January 21, 2012 was the grand opening of Walk It Off Spinal Cord Wellness Centre Inc. and the start of reaching milestones.

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WIO – December Donations Discount Member Program Fees

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We all look for a way to give this time of year. What better present than the gift of health in the form of donation? Walk If Off would love your generosity to assist with our Members’ Recovery Programs. For the month of December, all donations will be directed to discount our members’ program fees. Please give generously and be a part of Spinal Cord Injury Recovery.

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Importance of Standing for Those with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)

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In a previous post we talked about the importance of standing for those who have decreased mobility. We talked about the benefits standing has on preventing and slowing the process and osteoporosis and joint contractures (joint immobility).

At Walk It Off, our entire program is out of the wheelchair.  We incorporate not only standing in a session but other weight bearing activities with the body in various planes. The attraction to our facility is not just about the equipment we use for standing, but the one-on-one personal attention that our program calls for. We get EVERYONE up on his or her feet!

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Decreased Bone Mineral Density & Joint Contractures for Those with SCIs

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In our last blog post, we talked about the potential complications of immobility for those with spinal cord injuries (SCIs).  In this blog post, we’ll elaborate on issues such as decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and the potential for joint contractures (joint immobility).

Bone Mineral Density

In a healthy individual, the body goes through a cycle of reabsorbing minerals from the bones to use (or in a sense, borrow) for other bodily functions and processes to keep the body in homeostasis (regulating properly). The body then replaces the minerals, adding them back to the bone. At about the age of 30, bone density starts to slowly decrease, as the body reabsorbs the minerals faster than it can be replaced in the bone. There are other factors that may speed bone density loss, such as:

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Standing Tall Even With a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

standingIt’s Summer…You pack your bags for the weekend, pile your family into the car and head up north to the cottage or beach. When you reach your destination two or three hours later, getting out of the car and standing up tall, stretching and taking that deep cleansing breath, is an instant relief.  It’s innate in all of us to stand, even after a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Imagine not having the ability to stand and losing your mobility and the possible complications to your health from your disability.

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Walk It Off Spinal Cord Recovery & Wellness Centre

WIO Adds 4 Significant Pieces of Equipment

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Welcome to our new website! Walk It Off Spinal Cord Recovery and Wellness Centre (WIO) has had a very successful fundraising year enabling us to add 4 significant and valuable pieces of equipment to our therapy program. With over $60,000 raised, we were able to purchase a Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike ($35,000), a VibePlate ($3,500) and most recently, a LiteGait harnessed walker and GaitKeeper treadmill ($23,000). Becoming a Not for Profit organization and subsequently the ability to fundraise for our equipment, has allowed us to provide our program at an affordable cost so we can reach more individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI).

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