Archive for April, 2011

SPINAL CORD INJURY: HOW CAN MY FAMILY HELP DURING THE ACUTE HOSPITAL PHASE?

Saturday, April 30th, 2011
In the initial stages of your hospitalization, how can you and your family take some control of the situation? Here are some suggestions for how family members can assume responsibility for supporting you (and each other) and for seeing that you get the best care.
1.   Form your own family team, with each member responsible for information and input about a certain aspect of your care. For instance, one member could be with you each morning to talk with the doctors on their rounds. Another member could talk with rehabilitation centers about the second stage of your recovery, to get the information necessary for making the best decision.
2.   Ask questions until you really understand procedures, medications, and any side effects of treatments and medications. This is how you’ll become an informed consumer and a partner in the decision-making for your care.
3.   Ask family members to accompany you to therapies to observe, assist, and give you feedback. They can reinforce your progress and will also be better prepared to help you with exercises when you return home.
4. Advocate for your own care. If your voice is not heard, ask family members to speak up for you.
5. Ask family members to listen to you and understand your observations and needs. And listen to your family. This will keep you attuned to one another’s emotional states so that you can support each other when needed.
6.   If you have questions or concerns that are not being answered or addressed to your satisfaction, request a meeting with the physician. In a rehabilitation hospital or in an acute care setting that uses a team approach to patient care, you can request a Case Conference. This is a meeting that pulls together all the medical personnel involved in your care. You and your family will be included in the conference so that you can hear the different strategies being integrated to form the core of your care. Carefully consider every aspect of your care or prognosis so that you can ask just the right questions.
*25/156/5*

IMPROVINGMUSCULAR STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE: METHODS OF PROVIDING RESISTANCE

Friday, April 15th, 2011
There are four commonly used methods of applying resistance to develop strength and endurance.
• Body Weight Resistance
Many different techniques can be used to develop skeletal muscle fitness without relying on resistance equipment. Most of these methods use part or all of your body weight to offer the resistance during exercise. While these techniques are not as effective as external resistance in developing muscular strength, they are quite adequate for improving general muscular fitness. Activities such as sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups use both concentric and eccentric muscle actions. These types of resistance activities are convenient – no special equipment is needed – and are generally sufficient to improve muscle tone and maintain the level of muscular strength created by this type of overload. But they will not help you to make significant strength gains.
• Fixed Resistance
Fixed resistance exercises provide a constant amount of resistance throughout the full range of movement. Barbells and dumbbells provide fixed resistance because their weight (amount of resistance) does not change as you exercise. The advantages of fixed resistance exercise include the portability and low cost of barbells and dumbbells, the common availability of fixed resistance exercise machines at university recreation/fitness facilities and health clubs, and the existence of numerous exercises designed to strengthen all the major muscle groups in the body.
• Variable Resistance
Whether found at a health club or in your home workout area, variable resistance equipment alters the resistance encountered by a muscle at various joint angles so that the effort by the muscle is more consistent throughout the full range of motion. Variable resistance machines are typically single-station devices (e.g., Nautilus, Hammer Strength’ but some have multiple stations at which muscles of the upper and lower extremities can be exercised (e.g., Soloflex). While some of these machines are expensive and permanently placed, other inexpensive, portable forms of variable resistance devices are sold for home use.
•Accommodating Resistance
With accommodating resistance devices, the resistance changes according to the amount of force generated by the individual. There is no external weight to move or overcome. Resistance is provided by having the exerciser perform at maximal level of effort, while the exercise machine controls the speed of the exercise and does not allow any faster motion. The body segment being exercised must move at a rate faster than or equal to the set speed to encounter resistance.
*27/277/5*