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Spinal Cord Injury
What is a spinal cord injury?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Injury to the spinal cord from accidents, falls or birth defects results in a decrease or absence of movement, sensation, and body organ function below the level of the injury.
Spinal cord injury is classified according to the person's type of loss of motor and sensory function. Following are the main types of classifications:
- Paraplegia (para means two like parts). This involves paralysis and loss of sensation from some point in the trunk (lower half of the body) and including the legs.
- Tetraplegia. This involves paralysis and loss of sensation including all of the trunk (lower half of the body), the legs and some of the muscles of the shoulders, arms and hands. (The degree of paralysis depends on the area of injury to the spinal cord. The higher the injury, the more loss experienced.)
- Incomplete Paraplegia or Tetraplegia. Here there is not total damage to the spinal cord, so some movement and sensation may exist below the injury level.
The Spinal Cord Injury Program at Baptist Health Rehabilitation is designed for individuals who have experienced an injury or condition affecting their spinal cord resulting in weakness or paralysis. The trauma of spinal cord injury crosses the entire spectrum of medical, physical, emotional and psychological problems. Because of this, Baptist Health Rehabilitation provides a team of professionals who have specialized training in the treatment and care of individuals with a spinal cord injury.
What treatment options are available?
- Transfers. Patients are shown how to safely move from the wheelchair to the car, bed, furniture, toilet, and tub.
- Wheelchair Mobility. Patients are taught to negotiate curbs, ramps, and various types of surfaces in standard wheelchairs or power drive chairs.
- Walking. For patients who have this potential, walking training is practiced on a variety of floor surfaces, ramps and stairs using different types of canes, walkers, splints and braces, as necessary.
- Robot-Assisted Walking Therapy
The robot-assisted walking device (called a Lokomat) at Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute-Little Rock is designed to simulate normal walking. With individuals who have sustained an injury or illness that has severely limited their ability to walk, it is believed that the repetitive walking pattern helps the brain and spinal cord work together to re-route signals that have been interrupted. The use of the device may also help strengthen muscles, improve circulation, and increase bone density. An individual using the device is on a treadmill and is supported by a suspension harness. The robot, attached by straps to the outside of the legs, moves the legs in a natural walking pattern. A computer controls the pace of walking and measures the patient’s effort and degree of participation.
Electrical Stimulation Technology
Community Re-Entry Training
Peer & Group Support
Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic
Spinal Cord Injury Education Program
- Anatomy and Physiology of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Autonomic Dysreflexia
- Bowel Management
- Bladder Management
- Skin Management and Pressure Ulcers
- Range of Motion
- Psychosocial Adjustment
- Pulmonary/Circulatory Care
- Community Reentry
- Substance Abuse
- Wheelchair and Cushion Maintenance
- Follow-up Care
- Use of Leisure
Patients may be referred to Baptist Health Rehabilitation by physicians, family member, friend or self-referral. A screening examination may be conducted prior to admission. The cost of treatment is covered as with any hospitalization by Medicare, Medicaid, Workers’ compensation and private insurance carriers.
For additional information on how to begin the admission process, or to schedule a tour, call (501) 202-7011 for Little Rock, (501) 681-0974 for North Little Rock or Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-227-8478.
Baptist Health has the only Spinal Cord Injury Program in Arkansas that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).