Researchers have spent years, decades even, studying the effects of spinal cord injuries and paralysis. So, when it was determined that the spinal cord could learn and in some cases legs could be retrained to walk, they developed a therapy that wouldn’t just write-off injuries.
This development is locomotor therapy.
What is locomotor therapy?
Locomotor therapy, or locomotor training as it is commonly called, is an activity-based therapy that may be beneficial for people who have experienced a spinal cord injury. The treatment involves a process that uses complex movement machines and patients being fitted to high-tech exoskeletons.
The primary components for this type of training include step training, ground walking training and community ambulation training. Each of these steps include a different component of the therapy that remind the spine of the motions needed to carry out the end goal, which is helping the body remember how to walk.
Where is it being done?
While this training is fairly standard in countries like Germany, Norway and Switzerland, only a few clinics are offering it in the United States.
One of those clinics is the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado and they’re looking to show that spinal rehabilitation is a science rather than just a hunch. They will do this through the extensive exercise involved with locomotor therapy and continued spinal research.
The future for spinal cord injuries
Locomotor therapy is not yet to the point where it is able to help all patients who try it, but that’s not to say it will not ever get there. Everyday researchers are continuing to study the spine and develop new methods to try. The truth is, no one knows what the future holds any anything could happen!
Do you have any questions or experiences relating to locomotor therapy? Please let us know in the comments section below!
(Resources: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation & Denver Post)