Physical rehabilitation as an agent for recovery after spinal cord injury.

A.L. Behrman & S.J. Harkema

The initial level of injury and severity of volitional motor and clinically detectable sensory impairment has been considered the most reliable for predicting neurologic recovery of function after spinal cord injury (SCI). This consensus implies a limited expectation for physical rehabilitation interventions as important in the facilitation of recovery of function. The development of pharmacologic and surgical interventions has always been pursued with the intent of altering the expected trajectory of recovery after SCI, but only recently physical rehabilitation strategies have been considered to improve recovery beyond the initial prognosis. This article reviews the recent literature reporting emerging activity-based therapies that target recovery of standing and walking based on activity-dependent neuroplasticity. A classification scheme for physical rehabilitation interventions is also discussed to aid clinical decision making.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 2007, 18(2), 183-202

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