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Physiotherapy for Spinal Cord Injury




A person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) will benefit from specialised neurological physiotherapy.

Neurological physiotherapy will target difficulties you face following your injury and support and guide you throughout your treatment. Physiotherapy treatment will depend on the level and severity of the spinal cord damage you have received and will therefore be specific to your needs.

Neurological physiotherapy will focus on encouraging whatever movement is possible and building on it through strengthening, stretching, sensory stimulation, positive reinforcement and visual feedback. This will maximise your potential and promote your independence.

Physiotherapy treatment will focus on:
  • Exercise to increase muscle strength
  • Maintaining muscle, tissue length and range of movement and preventing muscles and joints from becoming stiff
  • Regaining normal patterns of movement
  • Regular standing to weight bear and improve function of internal organs
  • Exercises to increase control movement of the head, arms, trunk and legs.
  • Activities to improve balance and coordination
  • Advice on positioning to increase comfort and help posture in lying, sitting and standing
  • Improving confidence and self-esteem
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Teaching wheel chair skills if appropriate which includes pushing and turning the chair, operating the brakes, and removing the footplates and armrests
  • Breathing control and assisted coughing if appropriate to maintain a clear chest
  • Teaching transfers (getting in and out of a wheelchair, bed, car, shower/bath and onto and off a toilet) to improve safety and promote independence
  • Advice on orthotic devices and walking aids
  • Reducing pain and muscle spasms
  • Hydrotherapy treatment
Physiotherapy treatment will be personalised to your symptoms and needs. During the initial assessment with your physiotherapist short and long term goals will be developed and remain at the centre of your rehabilitation. Physiotherapy treatment sessions with specialised physiotherapists are effective and enjoyable leading you through a structured graduated programme improving your physical function and quality of life.


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