At Mayo Clinic, rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury involves a multifaceted approach:
- Subspecialty board-certified doctors. These doctors are specifically trained in care for people with spinal cord injuries.
- Physical and occupational therapy. Mayo Clinic physical and occupational therapists will work with you to help improve physical function in your upper extremities — your shoulders, arms, forearms, wrists and hands.
- Assistive technology. Many therapy tools may be used in upper extremity nerve re-education, including 3-D computer technology that compensates for gravity, to promote your nerve and muscle (neuromuscular) control while simulating daily life skills. Staff also may use functional electrical stimulation (FES) to help improve your movement in your arms, wrists and hands.
- Specialized support devices. Therapists also may use a combination of other tools to help improve your upper extremity weakness, including specialty splints and orthoses, mobile arm supports, gravity-assisting devices, and customized adaptations. These tools may help you change your approach to daily life skills.
- Surgery. Some people with quadriplegia may benefit from surgical reconstruction to restore arm and hand function. An integrated team will evaluate you to determine if surgical reconstruction is an appropriate treatment option for you.
The full range of Mayo Clinic expertise is available to all people who come for evaluation and treatment at Mayo Clinic.
March 11, 2015
- Spinal cord injury: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/sci/detail_sci.htm. Accessed Dec. 3, 2014.
- Gutierrez JA, et al. Physical therapy interventions for the prevention of fractures during spinal cord injury. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010620/abstract. Accessed Dec. 3, 2014.
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- Provider profile. CARF International. http://www.carf.org/providerProfile.aspx?cid=8020. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Ho CH, et al. Functional electrical stimulation and spinal cord injury. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2014;25:631.
- Christopherson MW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 12, 2015.