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Thread: Finding My Path-all signs point toward recovery

  1. #21
    Not directed to you, Madcolin, but bat therapy sounds like something developed by Scientology. Perhaps a new form of auditing?


  2. #22
    I recently finished up my first three weeks of my recovery plan. The first two weeks I went to Center IMT on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then went to Beyond Therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was rather intense, but I loved it and the two programs did not feel overlapping at all. They actually did a great job of complementing each other and I am further convinced that the combination is going to lead me to substantial recovery.

    I was usually at center IMT for five to six hours, one hour being exercise and the other hours being either electrical stimulation, laser therapy, or hands-on integrative manual therapy work. I'm learning a lot about connecting different muscle groups together and focusing on using the correct muscle groups for different actions. I'm also using electrical stimulation in ways that I've never experienced before, sometimes using three units at one time. I've known this in the past but I am further realizing how muscle groups most always work in conjunction with each other and pretty much never fire independently. My recovery has been pretty interesting so far and I'm noticing how I will many times have several muscle groups kicking in at the same time when performing certain actions. For example, leaning forward and pressing my hands into my armrests immediately fires up my triceps, chest and stomach muscles. It is almost spasm-like but it is becoming more and more controlled. However, my chest and triceps will not fire whenever I would like them to. It's usually only under the condition of patterned movements.

    My beyond therapy sessions lasted three hours at a time, one hour on the lokomat and the other two spent doing a variety of exercising including total gym workouts, prone exercises, tall kneeling, standing exercises, and trunk and arm strengthening. One of the big differences I noticed on the lokomat is that I was able to keep my upper body much more erect than my last visit. Each time my heel would strike the treadmill I could feel my lower back extensor's kicking in at the exact same time, on the appropriate side. Getting this response made the walking experience much more normal, as if I really was walking, rather than using the harness straps for upper body support. While walking I'm trying to focus a lot on developing crisscross patterns from my shoulder blade down to the opposite side of my lower back and butt muscles. If I'm going to walk again I must learn to bear my weight on one leg while bringing the other one forward and then transferring it to the other leg, all the while focusing on the crisscross patterns of each shoulder blade. I also focus on the crisscross patterns from the shoulders to the hip flexor, but I believe the weight bearing pattern is much more important right now.

    I'm also focusing a great deal on the tightening of my trunk muscles especially during exercising but also throughout the day. I've learned that much of my movement is controlled by my breathing. I will take a deep breath and hold it, tightening my abs and then initiating movement. This is far from proper education for my nervous system, so I am focusing on tightening the abs and lower back while continuing to breath looking to create more continuous movements instead of jumpstarting the movement and releasing. Seems like breathing should be common sense but as a spinal cord injury I have kind of forgotten what it is like to move normally.

    When two weeks were up, my parents and I went down to Texas to visit the energy healer I previously mentioned in this thread. This was my third time seeing him, and was by far the best visit out of the three. I saw him once a day for five days each time getting filled with a powerful healing energy. Each time was different, sometimes feeling a radiance of warmth though my body and other times feeling a draft of cool air. But each time left me feeling overwhelmingly peaceful and extremely tired. It is very hard to explain, and must be experienced to understand but I believe his hands are an instrument of healing which are reconnecting the nerves of my body as we speak. By the way, he heals 12 or more hours a day... free of charge. I do not feel extremely comfortable talking specifics about him in an open forum, so if you would like to know more feel free to PM me.

    I am now back at home packing up some things. My dad and I will be moving to an apartment in Atlanta right after July 4th. Unfortunately my mom cannot come with us at the present time due to not finding a job yet. I'm extremely excited about getting started with my recovery plan permanently. It's kind of frustrating to be back home. I feel as if I started the engine of recovery but have yet to press down on the accelerator. It's funny, it was almost exactly 1 year ago that my family set out to find how I was going to recover. It took a while, but I think we may have found my path to recovery.

  3. #23
    mc thanks for taking the time to update. Your rehab sounds very unconventional at times but so be it. I have really started to focus on visualization.. It surprised me that at first I could not conjure up in my mind what it was once like to stand up, take steps, break into a run, etc... I am now able to feel a build up of signals in my right leg and am even getting it to move. I am in "color-by-numbers" rehab and it has its limitations for sure.

  4. #24
    Alpentalic, that is great news about your visualization techniques. I believe visualization plays a key role in stimulating recovery of spinal cord injuries. Everything in existence begins with the thought, so by you envisioning your body in perfect order the chances of it manifesting are much greater.

    Many times when I meditate I experience the same effects which you mentioned. When I am able to get a clear picture in my mind of walking with everything in perfect order and absorb myself in that vision, I feel as if I'm about to jump out of my seat. A build up of energy occurs as you stated and my muscles will actually begin to twitch especially in the chest and triceps.

    One of the most important things my search has done for me is it has provided me with the belief that I will get better. Discovering this belief can be very hard when we are consistently surrounded by stimuli that goes against this belief. You can imagine the look my doctor gives me when I tell him I'm going to walk after being injured for three years.

    Are you involved in any kind of exercise program?

  5. #25
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    This is totaly weird, I used to sleepwalk intensly. I've recently started again. the first few times I woke up too soon, Got confused, and BAM!!!!!!! down I went. Now I stay in a very relaxed state remebering what things felt like and how I did it, the next thing I know I'm either back down the bedroom or on the couch. The only thing I have to beware, is the stairs, it was not uncommon to find me out in the driveway or on the street.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by madcolin
    Are you involved in any kind of exercise program?
    I'm a penstroke away from enrolling in a local program for the summer. My progress over the last 11 months has been slow and steady but I'm beginning to hit roadblocks, namely that I can't keep my hips under me when I stand up with the walker. Session after session in rehab we brace up and hit the same wall, more or less hoping this time will be different.

    As you or anyone rehabing knows, exercising muscle twitches is an act of faith/perserverance. I find it really helps to video tape various returns/progress from time to time. Progress can be so slow it can seem that things never change. When I watch footage from 3 months ago, it renews my confidence that things are slowly paying off.

  7. #27
    Alpentalic,

    Just hearing that you are working with a walker is encouraging, and sounds like you're making progress, but I can definitely understand how the slow pace of recovery can be frustrating. We always want more on the road of recovery, but that desire is what keeps us driving forward.

    Another visualization that has seemed very effective for me, has been to close my eyes and imagine my entire nervous system lighting up. Sometimes I will imagine a lightning bolt striking the top of my head, electrifying all of my nerves. Other times I will focus on different areas of the body, each time feeling the energy build up in the areas I'm focusing on. After I'm done, I'll open my eyes and my tone and spasms will have actually increased. It can be frustrating, but I see it as a good thing. You can mess around with different colors, but blue and white seem to work best for me.

  8. #28

    Beyond Therapy and Center IMT

    I now officially live in Atlanta and it feels great. It is exactly the fresh start I needed. My Charlotte environment had just become a very routine and stuck position in my life, and my new move has definitely given me a new fresh outlook as well as sparked a strong sense of dedication towards my physical recovery.

    I have now consistently been sticking with my rehab plans for the past month and a half or so and the results are becoming more and more evident in the recent weeks. When I first got down to Atlanta, the progress was slow and steady, noticing strength gains but not necessarily anything greatly impacting. However, it was important that I kept myself in check realizing that true progress will be seen over periods of months and not necessarily weeks.

    I have seen the most significant signs of improvement the past week or so. My movement has always displayed the illusion that I have a strong shoulder driver but in truth, it has been very weak and my scapular muscles have not done a good job of stabilizing my shoulder. The right side especially wings out, but I have begun to notice that it is actually beginning to stay in place throughout my movements. I'm also having more contractions in the chest muscles as well as my triceps. The increased strength in these muscles is becoming apparent through my movements as I'm lifting my hands higher above my head, showing tremendous strength gains in push up positions, and reaching further across my body.

    There's also obvious signs of improvement throughout my trunk area and I am much more stabilized in various positions than I was just a month ago. I'm able to observe this improvement when sitting in my manual chair, sitting on the mat, standing in the walker, and while doing standing exercises on the smith machine.

    In the past I have had a lot of movement along with the presence of tone and spasticity. Recently I've actually noticed more movement occurring without the help of tone. For instance, I'm now able to keep my hips tucked in while standing anywhere between 10 seconds and one minute, depending on the day. I was able to do this at project walk in September of 06, but this was along with a great deal of spasticity. This is a very good sign in my mind, as I would like to have movement consistently and not depending on whether or not tone is present that day.

    My meditations have been very effective the past few days. I visualize various muscles lighting up, flowing with energy, and I can actually feel the build up of energy along with slight twitches of muscle fibers. This is especially present in my upper back, chest and triceps. Many times it causes my tone to increase throughout my body, but the annoyance is well worth the healing I believe is taking place.

    Sleeping has become quite an ordeal, as at night my nerve pain has increased in my legs and hands, hot flashes have increased, and an overall feeling of restlessness throughout my body. It also seems I'm staying much warmer throughout the day, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the weather cools down.

    Right now my schedule consists of Beyond Therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours, and Center IMT on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 to six. I cannot say what exactly is causing my recovery because I continue to believe the multidisciplinary approach is very important. There is no one thing which will get me on my feet, but it is the combination of different approaches, each having its own impact coming together to create healing and recovery.

  9. #29
    I'm now beginning to see some of the most dramatic improvement I've seen since my injury. For almost 3 years I pushed and pushed to make my arms stronger. My shoulder blades resembled the wings of a pterodactyl sometimes sticking out to 90° off of my rib cage. Finally, over the past month the muscles around my scapulas have begin to fill in and keep those blasted shoulder blades down. The right shoulder blade still wings a little bit but is tremendously better. I can also say that I am now getting significant strength back in my arms. While doing proning exercises on my elbows, I can now shift my weight back and forth from elbow to elbow lifting the opposite arm off of the mat. Two months ago I could barely hold myself up in this position. Using E stim on my abs triceps and chest I can now benchpress 14 pounds. Three months ago I was at zero.

    The strength of my trunk and pelvis is also increasing. While doing assistant standing, I can now keep my pelvis tucked in with no assistance for an extended period of time. Using my trunk and pelvis I can resist being pushed in any direction. I now do not need any upper body support as my arms are strong enough.

    Sensation, energy, and health continues to increase. I am now on my way towards significant recovery and independence. Spinal cord injuries can get better. It takes the dedication to finding out what your body needs to do in order to recover and doing it. However, I also realize that I am very blessed to have the support of my parents and the financial backing to do what I'm doing. It's a shame that recovery has to be so expensive. It saddens me to see so many spinal cord injuries at the hospital who have fallen into the trap of traditional rehab. I continue to hope that one day things will change and people will be given the opportunity to recover.

  10. #30
    Hi MadColin,

    I'm glad to hear that you're improving physically. Your optimistic outlook on life is what I find most enlightening. Good for you.

    Thanks for the update.

    Best wishes,

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

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