High-tech gait therapy makes big strides for brain injury patients

Neuromotion Physiotherapy Clinic wants to improve outcomes

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month across Canada, and Neuromotion Physiotherapy Clinic wants people to know about prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Why is it important?

“Every day in Canada, 452 people suffer a serious acquired brain injury,” says Pauline Martin, a Registered Physiotherapist at Neuromotion. “It’s 44 times more common than spinal cord injury and 30 times more common than breast cancer. Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under the age of 40.”

The cost of treatment is staggering. Each injury can cost the medical system $1 million immediately, and $400,000 each year following the incident due to indirect expenses and followup treatment.

And the outcomes can still be devastating for patients and their families.

Robotic machine helps patients walk again

Neuromotion Physiotherapy has partnered with Drive for the Cure Foundation to raise funds for a Lokomat gait training machine. The Lokomat is a sophisticated system that, using robotic legs, helps patients learn to walk on a treadmill. The physical and neurologic training can help patients regain their independent mobility.

One Lokomat machine costs $500,000. Neuromotion’s Vancouver and Victoria clinics have the only two Lokomat machines in clinical use in BC, and the addition of a machine in Surrey will make the therapy available to Fraser Valley patients.

Project Lokomat’s ambassador is Michael Coss, a father of two who was seriously injured in an automobile accident. After more than six months in a coma, he awoke to discover he couldn’t eat, talk or walk. Through determination and therapy, including gait therapy using the Lokomat, he learned to walk again — four years after the accident.

“We’ve raised $141,000 so far,” Martin said. “We’re looking for corporate and individual sponsors to donate money to help us reach our goal.”

Motor vehicle accidents cause the most, and the most severe, injuries

The attention sports groups have paid to concussion helps to raise public awareness of traumatic brain injury, Martin says. Through Brain Injury Awareness Month, she and her colleagues hope to teach people about the much more severe injuries that arise from everyday accidents.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of brain injury, and can have the most severe consequences.

In addition to its fundraising for the Lokomat Project, Neuromotion is marking Brain Injury Awareness Month with its free Love Your Brain yoga sessions for patients with mild injuries, starting in late June at its Surrey and Vancouver locations.

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