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    Why are quads more likely to walk again?

    I'm a para, T-11/12 and I've been injured almost 10 years. Since my accident I met my (now) husband, given birth to two boys (now ages 6 &7), graduated from college, and I work full time. While I haven't had any time really to focus on recovery, I still hold out hope (realistic hope of course) to walk again. Almost every story I hear on people walking again is the story of someone with a cervical injury. Why are quads/tetraplegics more likely to recover from SCI? Is it just that people don't focus on recovery for Paras because we have full use of our upper body and it doesn't seem as critical to restore function? I function at L1 and I'm able to do pretty much anything I want, I have all my abs and some weak hip flexors. When I was injured in April of 2002, my rehab had just gotten a weight supported gait trainer, but I was told that since I didn't have any sensation or movement (at the time) below my injury, that I was not a candidate for using it. All the videos for project walk and the stories of people on there are all cervical level injuries, I didn't see one para on there. . .

    Just curious to see what research is out there, and if paras will be thrown in the mix at some time.

    #2
    HI there
    I'm a para, and can walk with a walker about 150 feet. The reason that it seems like there are a lot of walking high injury types, is because they compressed and shocked there cord. That type of injury, does not damage the cord as much as bones and other foreign objects,rammed into the spine. But trust me there are tons of high injury completes or near completes out there. Just like there are tons of complete lower injury folks out there. Its just hit and miss, when it comes to how bad it is. Glad to here that your getting along so well.
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

    Comment


      #3
      Sounds like you are kicking ass to me!
      I am an incomplete T11-T12 & I can walk a long way - I used to be able to walk a mile, but I doubt I can now, at least not in one shot - I had to chill on the walking as I was blowing out my shoulder/elbows and as I also work full time and all that i figured I better chill as having no good limbs would suck exponetially as have two that suck.......

      Can you stand? You can't walk if you can't stand.
      Pool therapy got me standing. Can you sit on an exercise ball and catch a tennis ball thrown at you? Can you kick?

      Good job on building a life after SCI!
      Steve Garro. www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks! I met some really SCIs right after being injured, I figured if they could move on and adapt, so could I. Truth be told, besides the not walking part and other thing that go along with SCI, my life is better post-injury, than before.

        I can only stand with KAFOs, everything else I don't believe I can do. I just recently got new leg braces, one is stance control, but with working, taking some additional post-bac classes,and being a mom, I can't get on them much, just once or twice a week. I'm really hoping that when my husband gets his big promotion I can drop down to part-time at my job, go to grad school, and start some more intensive PT; if for nothing else, just to stay in shape.

        I don't get in the pool much, but I'm hoping that the local city pool and fitness center has installed the lift they were supposed to by March. They built a nice pool, with a ramp into the therapy pool, and they didn't buy a chair to roll into it. They also have a junior olympic size pool with no lift or ramp, and the pool doesn't have a raised side to transfer (this all made me very mad so I cancelled my membership since they didn't seem to care when I complained).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Erin81079 View Post
          Thanks! I met some really SCIs right after being injured, I figured if they could move on and adapt, so could I. Truth be told, besides the not walking part and other thing that go along with SCI, my life is better post-injury, than before.

          I can only stand with KAFOs, everything else I don't believe I can do. I just recently got new leg braces, one is stance control, but with working, taking some additional post-bac classes,and being a mom, I can't get on them much, just once or twice a week. I'm really hoping that when my husband gets his big promotion I can drop down to part-time at my job, go to grad school, and start some more intensive PT; if for nothing else, just to stay in shape.

          I don't get in the pool much, but I'm hoping that the local city pool and fitness center has installed the lift they were supposed to by March. They built a nice pool, with a ramp into the therapy pool, and they didn't buy a chair to roll into it. They also have a junior olympic size pool with no lift or ramp, and the pool doesn't have a raised side to transfer (this all made me very mad so I cancelled my membership since they didn't seem to care when I complained).
          Well you certainly don't seem to lack in motivation, which is usually the biggie!
          Doesn't the pool have steps? Just transfer to the floor, and butt-bump down the steps. Use some PVC pipes as "crutches" in the pool with some of those "pool noodles" under your arms - that's what I did.
          It's all about navigation of the world, as every bit of it is as convoluted as the pool you describe.
          I wear one KAFO.
          Can you get from your chair to the floor & back?
          Really, the big one is standing, then when you can stand it's the parellell bars, but standing is 1st - you must have atrophied terribly from 10yrs of sitting - you need to get some muscle mass in the pool just to stand on land.
          Steve Garro. www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

          Comment


            #6
            I am a T11-12 and I was walking for 34 years but the last 8 years I have been a full time wheelchair user. I was walking without any aid and as far as AB people but then the aging did catch me
            TH 12, 43 years post

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Erin81079 View Post
              I'm a para, T-11/12 and I've been injured almost 10 years. Since my accident I met my (now) husband, given birth to two boys (now ages 6 &7), graduated from college, and I work full time. While I haven't had any time really to focus on recovery, I still hold out hope (realistic hope of course) to walk again. Almost every story I hear on people walking again is the story of someone with a cervical injury. Why are quads/tetraplegics more likely to recover from SCI? Is it just that people don't focus on recovery for Paras because we have full use of our upper body and it doesn't seem as critical to restore function? I function at L1 and I'm able to do pretty much anything I want, I have all my abs and some weak hip flexors. When I was injured in April of 2002, my rehab had just gotten a weight supported gait trainer, but I was told that since I didn't have any sensation or movement (at the time) below my injury, that I was not a candidate for using it. All the videos for project walk and the stories of people on there are all cervical level injuries, I didn't see one para on there. . .

              Just curious to see what research is out there, and if paras will be thrown in the mix at some time.
              Thirty years ago when I was hurt. The first thing I saw the day I regained consciousness was some low para walking with a walker on TV. Some doctor in Ohio had done the FES thing with her. She had finger switches on the walker and it was hailed as the "cure" for paras. Well 30 years later I'm still sitting on my T6 butt.
              Some day, some smart kid will figure it out.
              Besides, it doesn't sound like you have time to walk.

              Comment


                #8
                There are more people with INCOMPLETE injuries with tetraplegia than with paraplegia. This is one reason that there are more "walking quads" than walking paras, except for those with very low injuries, but programs such as external exoskeletan powered ambulation are generally currently only available to those with paraplegia (usually below T6 or so).

                (KLD)
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm coming up on 24 years walking and my injury is similar to yours, Bente's, and Steve's.

                  It really is a crapshoot as to what someone gets back and just how bad the injury is. My bone went all the way into the cord and the surgeon describes picking slivers of bone out in his op report. Plus I was trapped in my car for five hours and waited another 15+ hours for surgery so swelling of the cord was maxed out by then. Yet you have someone else who didn't have near that kind of injury who never got any movement back at all.

                  I think it depends on where you do your rehabilitation and where your focus is. My main focus was raising my daughter. Then I wanted to work. Sadly, taking care of my body came last.

                  I was a stubborn kid and wouldn't let them give me a chair in 1989. So life sucked a lot more than it had to because I would not accept alot of things. I am paying for it now with my joints.

                  I was a single mom its hard to do everything you are doing plus focus on recovery. You have alot of motivation to do all that you describe.

                  The pool is the best place. I hope they got that lift for you.

                  I would encourage you to get in some sort of exercise routine in a pool even if you have to scream to the sky to get them to put that lift in.
                  T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                  My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by baldfatdad View Post
                    Thirty years ago when I was hurt. The first thing I saw the day I regained consciousness was some low para walking with a walker on TV. Some doctor in Ohio had done the FES thing with her. She had finger switches on the walker and it was hailed as the "cure" for paras. Well 30 years later I'm still sitting on my T6 butt.
                    Some day, some smart kid will figure it out.
                    Besides, it doesn't sound like you have time to walk.
                    Ha ha, you may be right about not having time. I want to have time though ;-).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by darkeyed_daisy View Post
                      I'm coming up on 24 years walking and my injury is similar to yours, Bente's, and Steve's.

                      It really is a crapshoot as to what someone gets back and just how bad the injury is. My bone went all the way into the cord and the surgeon describes picking slivers of bone out in his op report. Plus I was trapped in my car for five hours and waited another 15+ hours for surgery so swelling of the cord was maxed out by then. Yet you have someone else who didn't have near that kind of injury who never got any movement back at all.

                      I think it depends on where you do your rehabilitation and where your focus is. My main focus was raising my daughter. Then I wanted to work. Sadly, taking care of my body came last.

                      I was a stubborn kid and wouldn't let them give me a chair in 1989. So life sucked a lot more than it had to because I would not accept alot of things. I am paying for it now with my joints.

                      I was a single mom its hard to do everything you are doing plus focus on recovery. You have alot of motivation to do all that you describe.

                      The pool is the best place. I hope they got that lift for you.

                      I would encourage you to get in some sort of exercise routine in a pool even if you have to scream to the sky to get them to put that lift in.
                      My injury was a burst fracture that didn't even puncture the spinal cord, it just compressed 50% of it; unfortunately it was the wrong 50% I guess. I knew a guy that was injured a few months before I was with the same level injury and he was able to wiggle his toe enough for the therapists to take a gamble that he could do gait training. He's now up and walking. The last time I saw him, which was about 5 years ago, he was walking without braces or a walker, just a quad cane. I bet he's without anything by now.

                      My doctor never told me I wouldn't walk again, he just said the quicker I get some return and/or sensation, the more likely it will be that I will walk again. Didn't get much return, so that's been the story. I want so badly to be able to focus on it (recovery) and still continue to do what I do now, but I just don't see that working. But I guess you are right, I definitely do need to get in the pool again. I've read that too much sitting can kill you, so I guess it's time to get out of the chair more than I do, even if it's just 30 minutes in the pool.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Erin, deal with what you've got. Sounds like not much return so walking is kinda unrealistic. You may be able to do it, heck even I use to with long leg braces and I'm a T4 Complete injury, but it is just not very practical, it really makes you appreciate the wheelchair more after you've forced yourself not to use it because you think walking is the answer.

                        Focus on Standing for therapy (standing wheelchair or standing frame) swimming, handcycling and just functioning from the wheelchair like you've been doing. It sounds like you are doing great!!!. Have you tried wheelchair tennis yet, there are so many sports and other things you can do from the chair. Sailing is a blast too.
                        "Life is about how you
                        respond to not only the
                        challenges you're dealt but
                        the challenges you seek...If
                        you have no goals, no
                        mountains to climb, your
                        soul dies".~Liz Fordred

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
                          There are more people with INCOMPLETE injuries with tetraplegia than with paraplegia. This is one reason that there are more "walking quads" than walking paras, except for those with very low injuries, but programs such as external exoskeletan powered ambulation are generally currently only available to those with paraplegia (usually below T6 or so).

                          (KLD)
                          I believe it takes such force to crush a thoracic vertebra --big fat bone with spines to deflect force, and anchored by ribs--that most paras end up dead at the scene, or otherwise with complete injuries. It is "easier" to break a neck. Also, the distribution of white and gray matter/tracts is different at the cervical level.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Curt Leatherbee View Post
                            Erin, deal with what you've got. Sounds like not much return so walking is kinda unrealistic. You may be able to do it, heck even I use to with long leg braces and I'm a T4 Complete injury, but it is just not very practical, it really makes you appreciate the wheelchair more after you've forced yourself not to use it because you think walking is the answer.

                            Focus on Standing for therapy (standing wheelchair or standing frame) swimming, handcycling and just functioning from the wheelchair like you've been doing. It sounds like you are doing great!!!. Have you tried wheelchair tennis yet, there are so many sports and other things you can do from the chair. Sailing is a blast too.
                            That's pretty much what I'm doing, I really don't think there's any hope for me without the "cure." Sounds like I'm longing and stuck in the past, and really I'm not. I guess I've just gotten curious to see if gait training or therapies like project walk are feasible, even 10 years post. I've seen so much on TV about it, and I'm so happy for those people, but I've just noticed that all the stories are quads. I guess I just get irritated sometimes (very fleeting irritation) of all of the stories that pop up about people being so determined at walking that they never gave up and now they walk. The miracle children-like those of us without return didn't try hard enough-so that's my little rant about that. I guess those stories just plant that little seed of questioning, did I try hard enough? did I give up too easily? And then my real life pulls me out of my day dream and I move on.

                            I'm going to ride horses again soon through a program called Hearts and Hooves (which I'm VERY excited about), but I've really not had time to do anything else. For the last two months I've gone to 2 hours of therapy a week to work with the braces and strength training-and I know that I will never be using those braces full time, my arms kill me after 10 minutes with the walker. I'm very involved in the PTA (I have to be because I'm the President-SCARY, I know) at my oldest son's school, and my other son just started baseball. My husband works full time and is in grad school, so we just have a very full schedule-doesn't leave much time for anything else. So I guess that was a long drawn out reply, but just wanted to let you know that most of the time I live in the reality you suggested, I just flirt with the dreamy recovery non-sense every once in a while.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Cripply View Post
                              I believe it takes such force to crush a thoracic vertebra --big fat bone with spines to deflect force, and anchored by ribs--that most paras end up dead at the scene, or otherwise with complete injuries. It is "easier" to break a neck. Also, the distribution of white and gray matter/tracts is different at the cervical level.
                              I like this answer, it makes sense :-)! Thanks!

                              Comment

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