On 21.02.19 or Director Susan Pattison was thrilled to be the first “Ask the Expert” at Manchester Spinal Injuries Support Group.

The group led by people living with spinal injury meets monthly at The Sheldon Arms, Ashton U Lyne and aims to provide much needed support to persons living in our communities after discharge from our regional spinal injury unit at Southport and Sheffield. The group are inviting different experts to be on hand to provide one to one advice and Susan was first up. The attendees were a mixture of complete and incomplete spinal injuries, some who had had their injuries relatively recently, and those who had lived with their injury for more than 40 years and some had travelled a considerable distance from Rotherham and Haydock.

The rapid fire questions and had Susan answer questions about muscle imbalance, spasm management and postural support as well as providing several on the spot assessments of painful shoulders.  At one point she was on the floor demonstrating hamstring exercises yes it was a full on very interactive 2 hours!

Muscle Imbalance

Propelling a wheelchair, walking with crutches or tearing around on a hand bike can mean that all exercise focuses on the muscles at the front of the body, the flexors. This can mean that this kind of exercise develop and the flexor muscles intensely and those on the back of the body, the extensors don’t keep up. The extensors are the antigravity muscles that help us to stand upright or sit up tall and need to be worked. Often after spinal injury people struggle with their posture and stability and Susan discuss  the importance of the muscle latissimus dorsi, a large muscle of the back which inserts into the arm and most importantly is innervated by the nerves from the cervical spine and is therefore often spared in spinal injury.

Spasm Management

Spasms can be troublesome, and can be triggered by both internal ( bladder) and external problems ( muscles). Understanding your spasms and their triggers is key. Knowing which muscles spams and learning specific stretched to target the problem can be helpful

Postural Support

Losing your tummy muscle control post spinal injury can make keeping you balance and an upright posture difficult. To be stable in a wheelchair when propelling spinal injured people need to adopt a flexed posture also most wheelchairs have short back rest and little support. Using a lumbar roll to change your position and support the natural curvature of your spine during less active parts of the day can be of great assistance to some people

You can find out more about the group on their web page or via social media on their Twitter and Facebook pages