Opportunities for people with paraplegia
It is still not possible to cure people with spinal injuries. But modern technology can aid in restoring individual functions or establishing replacement functions.
When someone is affected by a paraplegic lesion or chronic spinal injury, the top premise of patient treatment lies in restoring or maintaining quality of life or mobility. Two symposia at OTWorld will be dealing with expectations to be fulfilled by patient care in the future and technical developments in this field.
Concepts of therapy for the future
The treatment of paraplegics is a very intensely personal matter, in which the widest range of therapists attend to the patient, as Dr. Rainer Abel knows. Missing functions are replaced in many cases by helpers, but this is being increasingly changed by new technologies. In functional therapy more and more robot-assisted procedures are finally coming into use. Through these it is possible to practise new exercise models, using intensive, individually adapted repetition treatments. In particular, sensor-controlled monitoring systems, which can improve and replace the body’s own missing functions, are currently just beginning. Nevertheless, Abel is convinced: support by therapy, through technical processes, was never better than today – now it is time to adapt therapy concepts to the technological possibilities.
A symposium entitled “Mobility despite acute and degenerative paraplegia and spinal cord injury? What fitting options can be expected in the future?”, to be chaired by Dr. Susanne R. Schwarzkopf and Dr. Wilfried Schupp, along with the lecture by Dr. Rainer Abel, will consider
- modern treatment options for spinal spasticity,
- Paraplegia in the elderly – What orthopaedic device is indicated when?, and
- an update on the technical possibilities of bladder and bowel voiding.
Opportunities through technology
How much modern patient-care technology can contribute will also be demonstrated by a symposium entitled “Technical development and prospects for individuals with spinal paralysis”, under the chairmanship of Dr. Marion Saur and Alf Reuter. It will cover:
- measuring sitting pressure – seat positioning,
- options and limitations of brain-computer-interface-controlled neuroprotheses for grasping,
- a new control system using ear muscles for electric wheelchairs,
- the Cybathlon as an international competition for robot-assisted parathletes, and
- upper extremity isometric strength analysis in spinal cord injured manual wheelchair users.
The symposia have been designed by the German-speaking Medical Association for Paraplegia German Language Paraplegia Society (Deutschsprachige Medizinischen Gesellschaft für Paraplegie e.V. (DMGP)) and the German Society for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation e.V. (DGPMR).