If you recently suffered from an incomplete spinal cord injury and have had trouble walking since, then you should learn all about locomotor training and its benefits.
Like many other spinal rehab therapy types, locomotor training helps people who have suffered from spine injuries regain the body functions they have struggled to perform since their injuries occurred. However, locomotor training is used solely to help those who struggle to walk after their spine injuries learn to walk properly again.
Read on to learn more about locomotor training after a spine injury, including locomotor training phases, who is a good candidate for this spinal rehab type, and more.
Locomotor Training Phases
Locomotor training is often provided with a three-phase program, although some spinal rehab experts do administer this therapy in other ways.
The first phase of a three-phase locomotor training program is called step training. During step training, a person's bodyweight is supported by a harness as they learn to take steps on a treadmill. A spinal rehab expert may first move the patients' legs for them, if necessary, and then gradually reduce their help as the patient's motor skills improve to the point where they can make the walking motion with their legs on their own.
The second phase of a locomotor training program is often overground walking. During overground walking, the weight-supporting harness is removed and a patient learns to walk without this support on a treadmill or on the ground in a spinal therapy office.
During the final phase of this locomotor training process, community ambulation training, the spinal rehab expert takes locomotor training out of the healthcare office setting and helps the patient learn to ambulate while in the midst of obstacles they face inside and outside of their homes, such as doorways and stairs.
Who is a Good Candidate for Locomotor Training?
Locomotor training can benefit anyone who struggles to walk after the development of a spinal cord injury. Even when a spinal cord injury sufferer can walk on their own after the injury, this spinal rehab type can help increase walking speed, improve gait, improve walking endurance, and more.
While middle-aged and older adults do often respond well to this therapy type, children tend to have the best locomotor training outcomes, because their nervous systems are young and still developing.
Since many sessions of locomotor training are often needed for a spinal cord injury sufferer to regain or improve their walking abilities, good candidates for this training type must also be ready to make the commitment to a program that does not deliver instant results, yet can greatly improve walking ability over time.
If you recently developed a spinal cord injury and now struggle to walk, then ask your spinal rehab specialist if locomotor training is right for you.
Ask your doctor for more information about spinal rehab.