“I haven’t been able to move them for years.”
Does this sound familiar? I commonly hear this at expos, clinics and individual’s homes. Those diagnosed with a disabling neuromuscular disease can experience loss of their muscle strength because of it. Unfortunately this lack of movement inhibits body functions such as blood flow, which then results in a variety of other complications. Good blood flow is an intricate part of a healthy body.
Let’s look at patient with Multiple Sclerosis. As the disease progresses some individuals can lose their ability to walk or bear weight and perform other common activities that induce good blood flow. How does one get their body moving in order to promote good blood flow when the body can’t move on its own? If he or she can’t walk, cycle or have the luxury of manual therapy being performed daily, what can they do?
No matter which neuromuscular disease a patient has been diagnosed with, he or she needs to have three individuals involved in finding a solution that best suits their needs-their doctor, their physical therapist and themselves. But keep this in mind: While the patient’s doctor understands the reasons why good blood flow is needed, the physician may not be familiar with all of the solutions available. A physical therapist, however, is familiar with both the need AND the variety of therapy treatments that are being used today. The patient should be pro-active in supporting their doctors, therapists, and caregivers and keep an open line of communication between all those involved in their care.
So what are the solutions? While there are many, there is one form of therapy that has been in Europe for decades and over the past 15 years has gained interest here in the United States. We call it Movement Therapy. Not to be confused with “dance therapy” (which is often the case), Movement Therapy for those with minimum mobility have their arms and legs moved for them with the aid of a cycling machine. Those patients who use Movement Therapy as a way to promote good blood flow find sitting in a chair or wheelchair and having the machine move their legs or arms exhilarating and mentally uplifting. This therapy can be done without transfer, in the comfort of their home while watching TV!
How do these machines work? There are many cycling units out there that depend on the individual’s ability to cycle on their own volition. I want to concentrate on the solutions that offer passive, motor-assisted and active resistant therapy. These are the units that you now see in major rehabilitation hospitals, intensive care units in acute hospitals and throughout the Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
In the passive mode the unit will start to move the patients legs at a default RPM (revolutions per minute) of 20RPM. The user simply wheels up to the unit, inserts their feet and locks the wheels on their chair. The machine will begin to move the legs and the user can adjust the speed as needed or recommended.
The unit supports the user during motor-assisted mode. The user trains with only little muscle strength and when the unit senses that the user needs a little hlp, the unit’s motor gives the user a small burst of motor power to help him/her cycle on their own.
During the active-resistive mode, the user is training on his/her own and can adjust the resistance levels from very easy to quite difficult. Whenever the muscles fatigue, the user can relax and the motor will take over again, continuing the move the legs or arms in passive motion.
In addition to promoting blood flow, Movement Therapy using a cycling machine such as the MOTOmed can also lower spacticity, reduce edema, promote better bowel and bladder function and lifts the user’s spirit. I can tell you that when a patient realizes they are pedaling on their own, it is an extremely rewarding experience!
The benefits of Movement Therapy are well documented by researches, doctors, therapists and end-users. You can download and read many of these experience reports by clicking on the “testimonials’ or “studies” links in the menu bar above. So what are you waiting for? Get MOTOvated and seek out your mobility solution today!