Best Exercises to Help With A Spinal Cord Injury
Physical therapy is usually difficult. That’s why you need it. If it were easy, then you might be able to do it without professional assistance. Most spinal cord injuries that don’t leave a patient completely paralyzed will result in months, if not years, of excruciating physical therapy. That said, sometimes there are options for after that period has passed. Sometimes you can do something on your own. For those who fall into this category, here are some of the most beneficial exercises that you can practice in order to help relax a spinal cord injury, or better the outcome of long-term healing.
After you’ve mostly recovered from a spinal cord injury, continuous movement is best. Nothing too strenuous; just activity. If the injury did not leave you permanently or severely disabled, you probably still need to take it easy, but even a walk in the park can help get the blood flowing–especially if you’ve been confined to a bed for long periods of time in the near-past.
Although you might have to speak with your doctor about which exercise is right for you while at home, yoga is a popular choice. Yoga can help you discipline your body to accept its new reality, from breathing to balance. This type of exercise is also beneficial because it ranges in level of challenge. You can do relaxing stretching and breathing exercises, or you can challenge your core muscles.
For those confined to a wheelchair, there might be facilities available nearby that offer in-chair water aerobic exercise options. These are ideal for other patients with mobility issues as well, and will help you reduce pain levels while training your joints and bones to new stress. If you’re not confined to a chair, but would rather work on your upper body strength, then rowing may be the best option for you. Not only is the outdoor water-based activity relaxing and cathartic, you’ll gain a great deal of arm and torso mass and muscle.
For those who have lost a great deal of muscle mass, it may be necessary to do some manual labor. Weightlifting is certainly an option, but consider acquiring the services of a personal trainer who can help work with you individually in order to personalize your routine.
Even if these exercises seem pointless or too time-consuming or too difficult, it’s important to engage in them properly. Continuous exercise after a serious accident or surgery can greatly reduce the rate of cancer occurrence later in life and vastly improve mental health. Depression is a common side effect of long-term bed rest, and the exercise will help effectively combat it. You’ll also notice less chronic pain and increased balance because of the yoga. Even more importantly, you’ll feel in control of your life again!