Helping With Mobility After Spinal Cord Injury
Innovative devices such as those by exoskeleton companies like Ekso Bionics help individuals with spinal cord injuries gain some mobility when used in conjunction with physical therapy, training, and assistance from a caregiver.
One of the biggest benefits of an exoskeleton suit, of course, is that it allows people with paraplegia to walk again, having lost the brain function to do so. But this can come with many secondary effects as well. Being able to walk again is a huge stress relief for the individuals and their families. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, those who are paralyzed are 2 to 3 times as likely to develop depression as the non-disabled are, with the highest risk of suicide occurring withinthe first five years of diagnosis. Caregiver depression is a related illness that arises from the stress of taking care of a person with paraplegia.
What Ekso Bionics is Doing to Help
Ekso Bionics offers a wearable suit, called EksoNR, which was developed exclusively for use in rehabilitation centers and clinical settings to help patients gain back their mobility sooner. EksoNR is the first exoskeleton FDA-cleared for stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury, designed to ensure the most natural gait by re-teaching the brain and muscles how to properly walk again.
In addition to helping patients with stroke, it can also help patients with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, aneurysm, hypoxia/anoxia, ischemia, and brain tumors.
EksoNR is currently being used in more than 270 rehabilitation centers around the world, under the guidance of trained personnel.
New technologies such as exosuits are increasingly making their way into rehab centers so that stroke and spinal cord injury patients can improve mobility.