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So here I am again, Dear Reader. Back to report on the end of the trial and not generally the end of everything I hope, although, with the news these days, it’s difficult to tell!
Deciding how much detail to get into has been tricky for a number of reasons – first because I do not have access to the specifics of my results and second because I have already detailed all the tests in previous blogs and I don’t want to bore anyone by elucidating them all again.
My actual numbers have been assimilated and sent off to join the other participants’ results and those results will all need to be logged, compared and then reviewed before publication.
So, here, I am going to give you my overview. I definitely improved. Even better, I know that some other participants had even mor positive outcomes which will be publicised in due course.
Turning back to me, I gained the following improvements over the year of the trial:
- Greater overall strength
- Better torso function – I have improved through my trunk in terms of stability and am now pretty stable in four point kneeling completely unsupported – so much so that, to test this, I was once wheeled around the gym on a plinth whilst kneeling and managed not to fall over – much to everyone’s disappointment. I can also move my torso about when standing without collapsing.
- I was able to start the process of walking over ground both in parallel bars and with a walker. Now – before everyone gets over excited at this point, let me stress that I was taking steps only with the help of one physio holding hips, one holding knees and aiding the lifting of the foot and stepping through and another, in the case of the walker, moving the frame forward for me. I was able to start initiating the step in parts but, amusingly, I could only step forward with my left leg and only step backward with my right. As you can imagine this occasioned much hilarity as my legs travelled increasingly in opposite directions
- My lung function definitely got better on both inhalation and expiration with much higher scores on the spirometer. I have both an improved cough and sneeze. (I realise that this will mean nothing to anyone who isn’t a tetraplegic but quite a lot if you are).
As you can see from the list of improvements above, the neuromodulation combined with rehabilitation lead to functional recovery.
I have been a regular gym and therapy user almost every day since leaving hospital so I can safely say that what I recovered was down to the spinal stimulation since many of the exercises we were doing were things I had already been working on before the trial.
This is hugely encouraging – and, as I referenced above, we have also seen some remarkable functional and transformative returns in other participants.
A big thank you
I’d like to extend huge thanks to all the physios working on the trial who did a superb job and managed to stay enthusiastic, cheerful and professional even through my worst anecdotes.
The year absolutely flew past and I can hardly believe the 120 sessions are now done.
In summary, the good news can be summed up in two points.
1. Neuromodulation does improve function in chronic Spinal Cord Injury cases and
2. This is the last trial blog you’ll need to read from me.
Keep an eye on the site for further research news later in the year and please keep supporting Spinal Research to fund projects like this. The more money that can be raised, the quicker we can refine therapies and make them available to all.