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Thread: need help

  1. #1

    need help


    My dad suffered a spinal cord injury c6 c7 incomplete a month ago. He has good arm coordination and strengh, but no finger movement. He does have sensation in most of his fingers though. No movement and very limited sensation from the chest down. At a month post injury, is it possible to see more return? The doctors were very hopeful at first, but they don't appear that way now.

    Also I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on why he wasn't given Prednisone at the time of his injury? Finally, he is only getting 1 hour of pt and 1 hour of ot a day. I don't think this is enough, does anyone have some much and what kind of physio should he be receiving? He is at a rehabiliation center but it is not a specialized spinal cord injury center, does anyone know if there are any specialized centers in Canada? Any advice would be great right now, need some kind of hope.


  2. #2
    G F Strong in Vancouver is the place to be.


  3. #3
    Hi, and welcome. I'm sorry about your dad. Everybody new to SCI should read the article linked below. It's probably best to print it for the whole family. It will answer a lot of questions.

    You didn't say how your dad was injured, or what his age is. Any other injuries? Is he mentally OK? (No brain injuries, I mean.) How is the family support? Is he married?

    It's not uncommon AT ALL for people to regain some function for up to 2 years post-SCI. The first 6 months seem to be the fastest. When the spinal cord is injured it swells (this is called spinal shock). As the swelling decreases some function also comes back. Tell him to keep trying to move, even when he isn't in formal therapy.

    I don't know why he didn't get methylprednisolone...but what's done is done, no sense agonizing over it now.

    I would move heaven and earth to get him into a SCI-specific rehab. I'm not Canadian but have heard good thins about Strong. Plus, it's in Vancouver and gives you an excuse to visit there! (I'm dying to visit Vancouver.)

    I'll let the Canadians jump in now. You've done well finding us so soon. Be sure and read the article I linked, it's important.

    Oh, and WATCH HIS SKIN. He needs to be turning at least every 2 hours. Don't trust the nursing staff. At his level he should be able to learn to roll himself, I think. Tell him this is crucial. The skin sores set us back faster than anything and we're most vulnerable in the beginning.

    Ask any questions, any time. We always try to help.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Thanks for your swift response. My dad suffered no other injuries, cognitivily is is 100%. He was in a car accident. He has lots of family support, (still married to my mom )there is someone with him all the time at the rehab hosiptal, except for the night time. It is a very emotional time for him right now, he is 42 and very healthy post injury.

    Thanks for the link, I have read it already, it is very useful. I am checking into the rehab center in BC now. We are ensuring that he gets moved every 2 hours and we do exercises with him as well...stretching etc..

    I just don't feel like he is getting the proper rehab treatment, he is getting medication to help him sleep as well as anti depressants because of his psychological state- I am questioning if this medication will interfere with his recovery?? At one month post injury it seems like the medical staff are not concerned with helping him regain any function- they only work with what he already this normal? Anymore input would be great.

    Thank you so much


  5. #5

    Thanks for the further details. Your dad is a young man and should rehab well when a better facility is found. It sounds like the hospital you are in just does not have the experience to understand the opportunities an SCI dedicated institution can provide.

    As to recovery, in particular his hands, I can recount the situation of my son whose injury was at C7. Early on he had movement and sensation in his right hand only. It was nearly six months before our hopes were realized for his left hand. He could not open the fingers at all until many months had passed. Now he types with both hands. The right is still stronger but the left is working.

    The acute stage he is in at the moment is the ugliest part of the process. There are so many unknowns. The most important thing about this stage is his support group. His mind is just a dust devil of doubt and regret. Be there for him and stay hopeful for improvement.

    "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang

  6. #6
    I am a T6 injured at 39. I am 42 now. Pray that there will be some recovery, at C6-7 he is just at the level where he may soon get some finger control back. I was never a fan of anti-depressants, I would rather be very awake and aware of what was happening around me eventhough I understand that every injury and the situations around it are different. He and his family must read and learn about the injury to prevent skin breakdown, pulmonary and other complications can be avoided the sooner he is able to sit and be transfered to a wheelchair. Read and ask questions. Many here have gone through what your dad is going through, and the nurses and doctors on CC are the most knowledgeable on this field that I have found since my injury. My best advice is to ask, any doubt just ask. And get him hooked on to carecure soon.

    Best of luck.
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    New York

    I sorry to here about your father injury. My father is a c6/c7 complete it has been a very emotinal time for all involeved with his accident but we've taken it day by day. I know My mom has been there and is my father care giver and it takes alot out of her. best of luck with finding all you need this website has been great for me and my family.

  8. #8
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your responses, I was wondering what to expect in rehab? For example, should rehab focus on working with all of the body? Is the approach "we won't work with it till it moves" normal for rehab. They said my dad won't benefit from FES exercise, like that of the FES bike, unless he gains some kind of movement in his legs. They have not tried to stand him up yet, but he does spend many hours in the chair. I am just wondering if this approach can be expected of all rehab centers, or maybe it is just a lack of knowlegde in the rehab hosiptal my dad is at. My mom asks alot of questions and has done alot of research into different types of treatments, however the doctors don't seem to think it will be useful to my dad. Would it be benefical to move him to another rehab, will specialized SCI centers, take this same approach? How many hours of pt should he be getting in one day?

    thanks so much

  9. #9
    I forgot to mention that the doctors are thinking of giving him medication for spasms...he has began to have them recently....could this medication interfer with him regaining function? It seems a bit soon to be medicating him for spasms? Any advice??


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Baltimore MD
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy11
    Is the approach "we won't work with it till it moves" normal for rehab. They said my dad won't benefit from FES exercise, like that of the FES bike, unless he gains some kind of movement in his legs. ....... he does spend many hours in the chair. I am just wondering if this approach can be expected of all rehab centers, .................. Would it be benefical to move him to another rehab, will specialized SCI centers, take this same approach? How many hours of pt should he be getting in one day?
    As a father of a recent injury to my son (C-5 incomplete), I've found that this first question has a bit of controversy in the rehab field. My son's rehab is concentrated on just what moves and I had the same question as you.
    It seems that there are a few doctors that feel that the FES and other treatments should be used on areas that dont move....yet. They feel that the stimulation can activate movement, eventually. Others feel that this is a waste of time and energy and want to zero in on making what does work (move) better.
    Chris Reeve's doc (McDonald) got a bit of medical success with the theory and therapy that wants to make movement where there is none, but is a good candidate area to try. But he hasn't published his therapies and findings to the medical society, yet- and others disbelieve his claims saying he hasn't had enough success to make them believe in his therapies or theories. (Johns Hopkins beieves it, and brought him from St. Louis to Baltimore to use his methods on the pediatric & adult patients at thier Kennedy-Kreiger Institute)
    At least, that's the way I think I've interpreted what I've been able
    to fiind out. (We're in Balto. at another SCI hospital, & want my son to do his outpatient rehab at Kennedy-Kreiger if he can get in-there's a waiting list. They seem to have a brighter outlook on the possibilities of regaining function than where he is now.)

    I do believe that it will be very important to your dad's recovery and rehab- to be at a hospital that specializes in SCI. This is a must!

    My son does 3 hours of rehab a day.
    One hour O/T in the a.m. & one hour each of O/T & P/T in the afternoon.

    That's a very strenuous schedule for him, being a quad - and it takes so much time for him to do everything that we take for granted. Eating, dressing, brushing teeth, washing, time for breakfast, time for lunch, getting 'cathed' every 4 hours, getting to and from the therapy sessions back to his room, etc.
    But I can say that after just over one month at the rehab hospital (He spent the first month 99% paralyzed, intubated & on a vent in CCU & ICU), he has regained his speech (trache removed and breathing on his own), a lot of arm movement (he can operate a power whellchair with a joystick), some hand movement, and just yesterday he discovered in thereapy that he can move his legs, slightly - with the 'skate' and leg board.
    If he shows enough progress, they'll delay his discharge date and work more on additional therapies, for anywhere from a week - to a month, extra.
    They too operate on the principle that they only concentrate on working with what works. (That's why we're trying for Kennedy-Kreiger outpatient- rather than the outpatient rehab at the hospital he is now in)
    That's been my experience so far, from a father's perspective.
    Stay with this site. Read what they suggest.
    This site and the forums have been a lifesaver, literally-
    for both me & my son.
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

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