Why do I need more than my current traditional rehabilitation?
Of the over 12,000 spinal cord injuries a year only a small percentage regain the ability to walk. The reason is not always the injury, but the lack of treatment. It has been speculated that our new clients would be getting better without our program because they are less than a year post injury and, in most cases, incompletes. If such is the case, why are the majority of our clients regaining function beyond what the traditional model states possible for the injury level? Why are thousands of other injuries each year not progressing past their perceived level of recovery? It’s the treatment.
If you place an able-bodied person in a reduced gravity environment; tell them they can’t move for a year; heavily medicate them; and give them no hope; what will be the outcome? Bone density, muscle mass, and nervous system activity would begin to shut down and disappear. That able- bodied person would have the same symptoms of a paralyzed person. So, is it just the injury or the treatment that keeps some SCI paralyzed? We know that not every new injury will regain their desired function, but since 1999, a significant number of our clients have regained greater function than believed possible based on the injury level.
Will I walk again?
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but if you do nothing to promote recovery, you are almost guaranteed a life without it. Taking care of yourself and taking control of your future is what makes life worth living. At Project Walk we can’t promise that you will walk again. We do promise the best facility, a positive environment for healing, the best and most highly trained and skilled staff in the world in the field of exercise-based recovery and a long-term, realistic plan that fits your needs as an individual.
How long should I wait to start my recovery program?
Once you are no longer in ICU and transfer to rehab, are healthy, and have your doctor’s clearance, you should start. Every day, every month, and every year that you sit in your wheelchair without nervous system stimulation, the harder it will become to regain function. With this injury your body is like newly poured concrete–in the beginning you can mold it, but once it sets, it is extremely difficult to work with. We have seen incomplete clients two or more years post injury struggle tremendously with tone and spasm because they did not receive the proper stimulation early on. The unfortunate thing is that these individuals are not alone. Each year hundreds of people wiggle their toes, get return of sensation down their bodies, some can even create movement, but they are told these occurrences are common and don’t mean anything. But it does mean something; it means everything. Your future depends on nervous system stimulation to improve.
Educate yourself, determine your goals, and try everything in your power to regain function. During this time, you will be improving physically and mentally, proactively increasing your quality of life.
What is the timeline to regain function?
There is no timeline or deadline for regaining function. Each person and injury is different. It’s only when someone actually regains function that we know they are healing. Our second client came to us eight years post injury with no controlled movement below the waist. Think of recovery as a lifetime process; it only stops when you stop trying.
My doctor said I have two years to recover. Is this true?
The doctors are correct in one aspect of the two-year window theory–your body is trying to recover and most people see the majority of their gains in the first two-years. If your body is trying to regain function, why not do everything in your power to increase your chances. The nervous system won’t improve without external stimulation and traditional treatment doesn’t work the paralyzed body. Without stimulation, your body will deteriorate. You will lose muscle mass, bone density and central nervous system activity. Increase your chances of recovering by changing your environment and increasing your nervous system stimulation. You can still recover function well past the two-year mark. The magic two-year mark is based on the assumption you do nothing to improve during that time. And, over the last 50 years or so, most people have not gotten better after the two year mark. The longer one waits to try to recover, the harder it becomes, but it is not impossible. We have worked with people five plus years post injury who are still regaining function. Our message to you is don’t wait. Take advantage of your body’s desire to heal before it is too late.
How long is a recovery program?
There is no set standard on how long it will take to regain function. Every person has their own goals and desired outcomes and works towards their needs. Each person and the damage they have sustained are different; therefore, you can’t compare yourself to others because each person regains function differently.
Recovery is a lifetime program and includes all aspects of your life. What you do outside of Project Walk is equally as important as what you do inside. Successful clients who are regaining function become independent, go back to school or work, and are surrounded by supportive family and friends. Because there is no timeline for recovery, you must develop and implement a life plan.
Should I give up everything and try to recover?
No, you cannot give up your life, family and friends, etc. to pursue recovery. Too often we meet someone who has moved across the country with the determination and mindset that they are going to get better and return home walking, only to fail. Add in undue stress and unattainable recovery timelines and you have an unhappy ending for everyone involved.
Clients who keep their support network and continue on with life are recovering. Recovery is a long process and isn’t all about walking; it is also about your life and how you live it. Outside of training, be active, play sports, go skiing and horseback riding, go back to school or work. In life, the most successful, happy people are well-rounded.
If you can’t participate as an In-House client, it doesn’t mean you can’t recover. This is why we have the Home-Based and Train Your Trainer/Therapist™ programs; they are quickly becoming very successful components of our program. The recovery process may be slower, but the rewards are there.
How can I stimulate my body to help it recover?
Humans don’t work as individual parts, the body is one unit and the nervous system has multiple complex jobs. One of its primary functions, however, is to deal with gravity by creating a stable upright posture. When you introduce gravity to the postural skeletal muscles, you stimulate the nervous system creating a demand on this primary function. Since the muscles of the legs have the longest and strongest levers they are the easiest to stimulate. As the muscles of the legs regain strength, they create a demand on the muscles within the pelvis to help with stabilization. This in turn helps to stimulate the muscles of the abdomen and low back to further assist with stabilization.
Unless you treat the body with load bearing and closed chain exercises using developmental movement patterns, you will achieve very little improvement.
What are the benefits of Project Walk?
Clients typically see the following benefits from Project Walk’s program:
How can I bring Project Walk to my hometown?
Project Walk offers many wonderful franchise opportunities. To learn more, please visit the franchise section of our website.
Which program is right for me?
At Project Walk we make the strongest effort to create programs that are specific for the individual. These programs are constantly changing as the individual progresses through their recovery. Please take a moment to review each program we have to offer here at Project Walk. From our Home program, all the way up to our TYT Pro-track, we are confident that with our help you will find the program that best suits your needs! Please review our PROGRAM OPTIONS.
How long should my visit be?
All of our programs are a minimum of 1 week in length. However, we may recommend you stay much longer depending on your level of injury, budget, and schedule. For our out-of-state clients, an initial 2- 3 week visit is pretty normal and for our international clients, a 4-8 week stay is on average. The initial length of your stay will be determined by you and Project Walk’s Client Services Manager during the application process.
To schedule a visit please fill out our CLIENT APPLICATION.
Do I need my own trainer?
If you are unable to attend Project Walk on a consistent basis then you will probably need someone to assists you in your exercise program. This person can be a friend or family member that does not have prior experience working in a rehabilitation or exercise setting. He/she would be able to assist you in some basic exercises and would be more effective if having completed the Train Your Trainer (TYT) Family Track Program. If you would like someone to work with you who has experience as an exercise professional or physical therapist then they should consider going through our Certification Program or the TYT Professional Track.
What if I can’t come to Carlsbad?
Project Walk highly recommends that you visit their headquarters in California to complete one of their programs. If you are unable to do this then you can purchase the Home Program Manual and DVD and it will be shipped to you. You can also attend one of our Certified Facilities that may be located in your area.