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Thread: Passive Trainer suitable for someone with mild involuntary movements?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Yorkshire, UK

    Passive Trainer suitable for someone with mild involuntary movements?


    When I joined this forum I didnt relaise it was just for people who had spinal injuries, I thought it was just a disability site in general. (a friend directed me to your computers discussion boards originally for information).

    I am just looking for advice, I have been diagnosed with a progressive neurological condition, in some ways i share your experiences in that I once too walked and spoke 'normally' if there is such a thing!

    Unlike most of you probably, mine didn't happen overnight due to an accident and its taken 7 yrs to get to this stage. My prognosis is that I will end up Quadriplegic (in sense of all 4 limbs been affected severely) and I am also losing my speech.

    I'm not sure at what point I become quadriplegic but I have also heard this word in reference to people with ALS and Cerebral Palsy as well as from Spinal Injuries.

    I am looking for exercises that I could do to help slow the progression down as much as possible and wondered if any you have any ideas or what you do?

    My current level of ability is that I can pull myself to standing and manage a few steps with a walker or crutches (with human assistance also). I can still propel a manual chair on flat though my arms have jerky movement to them. I have difficulty with fine motor control so trying to write, type fasten buttons etc is a becoming a challenge.

    I have good strength in shoulders and arms but dont have the co-ordination to be able to manage aerobic exercising such as pedalling on an exercise bike as my movements are too jerky. I do use wrist weights too to steady arms but they are bulky on thin wrists and I'm currently looking at weighted splints with my physiotherapist.

    Does anyone here get intention tremor or mild athetoid-type involuntary movements when trying to move arms or legs? Does a passive trainer work for you? or am I likely to end up with broken arms/legs if my muscles twitch while the machine is working my arms/legs?

    I can sit up unsupported in a regular chair for a short while too (few hours, then i need to lie down or move to seat with full back support).

    My physio brings me exercises to improve trunk strength to help keep sitting balance as long as possible but I'm just wondering if its worth investing in a passive trainer machine too?

    I have limited space is there one that I could easily manage to fold or store in a corner when not in use and use on both my arms and legs?

    What exercises do you guys use to help over come limited hand strength/function when trying to do things?


    (Yorkshire, UK)

  2. #2
    Hi Katilea,

    Does your PT do range of motion with your arms and legs? Does your muscles start spazzing out when they are being passively moved by your PT? I would first go the inexpensive route and buy some Theraband at the appropriate color level for your capabilities and start from there. Your PT should be quite able to show you various excercises, recommend the right resistance color, and write you up a therapy plan you can follow. If not, check out this link and see what excercises can be benificial to you:
    Last edited by Mike C; 04-07-2009 at 09:55 AM.
    "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer

  3. #3
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    East Haven, CT

    I have a progressive spinal and brain disease that has a similar course of action as yours. I think you qualify to be here.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  4. #4
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Yorkshire, UK


    Hi guys

    Thanks, I will check out the Therabands Mike. I hadn't heard of those.

    Wheelycoach - what exercises do you do to keep your symptoms at bay?

    This is slightly off topic but does anyone know at what point you are classed as quadriplegic? I thought (probably like most people) that it meant you had no sensation or movement from neck down and associated it with people such as Christopher Reeve after his accident.

    It is only after getting online and meeting people with a number of different conditions who also used the term but weren't paralysed as such. I watched the movie Murderball about Quad Rugby and they can all push themselves in a manual chair but have a variety in range of movement in their arms/hands. So I'm a little confused especially as regard to what that means to my diagnosis and how far it will go.

    The movie showed the guys able to still do things like dressing themselves and they are still classed as quadriplegic, does this mean there's hope that I wont end up as bad as I'm thinking? (based on what I originally thought it meant).

    I guess like deafness (i went deaf at age 16) there is a range of levels within that diagnosis. How affected do your arms/hands and legs have to be, to be classed as Quadriplegic? (as opposed to paraplegic)

    Are there any exercises I can do to try and ensure I stay at the more able end of this diagnosis for as long as possible?



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