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Advanced Medical Group
450 Old Peachtree Road, N.W.
Suite 102
Suwanee, GA 30024-7289

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Advanced Care Program: Paralysis

The Importance of Range of Motion Exercises

Individuals who are paralyzed do not have the ability to move all the parts of their body. It is important for an individual to perform a regular range of motion exercise program. Failure to exercise on a regular basis can cause joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to stiffen. If parts of the body stiffen, it will impact your ability to sit and maintain your posture. Lack of exercise can result in increased muscle spasms and increase your chances of developing pressure sores.

During your rehabilitation your healthcare providers instructed you and/or your caregiver on the range of motion exercises to meet your specific needs. These exercises should be done in a smooth motion to avoid damage to the joints – not a quick jerky motion which can damage the joints. Hold the position still, rather than bouncing, to allow the muscle fibers to relax and stretch. Do not use excessive force – it could result in a fracture, muscle tear or pull, or dislocate a joint.

Range of motion exercises that should be performed include:
  • Heel extensions
  • Hip flexions and extensions
  • Leg rotations
  • Shoulder rotations and extensions
  • Straight leg raises
  • Trunk rotations and bending
  • Wrist, finger, thumb and elbow abductions (spreading fingers apart), flexions (bending the wrist, finger or thumb inward toward the palm) and extensions (extending the fingers, wrist and thumb outward away from the palm)

If you are not currently performing range of motion exercises, speak with your doctor, physical therapist or occupational therapist, and your caregiver about a program that will meet your needs and schedule. You and your caregiver should understand each exercise and the correct way to perform the exercise to achieve the desired results and not cause injury. An effective range of motion exercise program can help you avoid contractures (permanently shortened range of motion of a joint), spasticity, and pressure sores while improving posture and trunk stability.

Paralysis Topics

Recognizing and Preventing Autonomic Dysreflexia
Recognizing and Preventing Pressure Sores
Recognizing and Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
Skin Care
Osteoporosis and Fractures
Bowel Management
Respiratory Complications
Smoking and Paralysis
Male Sexuality
The Importance of Range of Motion Exercises
Female Sexuality
Nutrition & Spinal Cord Injury
Wheelchair Cushion Maintenance
Latex Allergies

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