We offer one-on-one therapy with a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, or Kinesiologist. Each client is very different and so each treatment plan is as well. Most clients' programs include some combination of standing, crawling, gait training, FES training, and core work. Commonly used modalities are expanded upon below.
Almost all of our clients make use of the FES bike. Pulses of electrical current are applied to peripheral nerves by using adhesive pads on the skin. This allows for a client to use their own muscles to pedal the bicycle, even if they are unable to do so normally. In addition to the FES bike, we also have a portable system which allows us to apply electrical stimulation while a client is doing some other task. This includes assisted elbow extension, squats, situps, and even standing balance.
Standing is extremely common in our facility. Even if a client is unable to independently stand, we have several techniques to help them into standing. This could mean using a standing frame or having the therapist sit in front of the client to help them stand while the legs are secured. Often times, standing is only used as a tool to accomplish something else. This could be working on tolerance, balance, upper body work, or any number of things. Clients also stand in front of our squat rack and our twist combo machine.
We have a LiteGait at our disposal to facilitate gait training. It is a body weight harness that can be adjusted to take as little or as much weight off of a client so that they can be assisted through a smooth gait pattern. We use the Litegait overground as well as on the treadmill. If a client is able to walk independently, we still may use the LiteGait for them to test the waters outside of their comfort zone or to improve on the walking pattern. Our clients love to gait train and so this is an essential piece of equipment for us!
The PowerPlate is a vibrating platform that is most commonly used in combination with standing (although it is also sometimes used for pushups as well). There's really no way to describe the sensation of standing on the PowerPlate other than it is very energizing. It completely changes how standing feels and clients often report increased sensation while using the machine. Clients often use it for squats or for standing balance. It can be set to intervals so that it isn't uncomfortable for clients.
The tables are used for a huge range of exercises. Assisted movements are meant to introduce repetition in the hopes of the nervous system recognizing it. In addition to these tasks, the tables can be used for seated balance by attempting throwing, catching, and hitting. Additionally, tables can be used for kneeling if it is preferred over using mats on the floor. In the kneeling position, exercises include partial squats, oblique dips, and back extensions. Creativity is really the only limit to the number of exercises that can be done with the table.
Crawling is a very challenging task in that it requires quite a bit of coordination from different areas of the body. For paraplegic clients, 1-3 therapists assist to crawl a length of mats before turning around and doing it again! Quadriplegic clients often use the LiteGait to assist with crawling as well. They are positioned in high-kneeling so that the LiteGait handles can be used as opposed to relying on triceps and abdominal muscles too much. Crawling is truly a full-body workout that challenges clients mentally as well!
The Total Gym is a slanted table that is used mostly for squats, either single-legged or double-legged. Some clients even work on jumping! The slant offloads weight from the client so that squats are made eaier and more repetition can be gained. Our portable electrical stimulation unit is often used with this machine in order for clients to initiate contractions in the squats. The Total Gym also comes equipped with upper body cables as well. These can be combined with lower body exercises or used on their own.
We use our parallel bars to primarily work on gait pattern and standing balance. Tools such as steps, wobbly platforms, mats, boxes, and more are used in the parallel bars as well. We even have a Wii in front of the parallel bars with a balance board. It's a fantastic way to work on balance tasks while keeping a client engaged. Especially for the younger clients! The parallel bars provide a sturdy and reliable environment for clients so that they feel safe and comfortable.