Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Research

Robotic and Exercise Rehabilitation in Motor Incomplete SCI

Spinal cord injury rehabilitation research at the UM Rehab has focused on both cardiovascular fitness and functional improvement using techniques of robotic rehabilitation and aquatic therapy. Drs.Peter Gorman, Henry York and Paula Geigle have shown that exercise using a robotic treadmill training device called the Lokomat can improve cardiovascular fitness in people with chronic motor incomplete spinal cord injury. In conjunction with the Shepard Center in Atlanta, the group has also shown that aquatic therapy can also provide similar cardiovascular effects.

This was a randomized crossover comparison study sponsored by a 4 year Department of Defense grant.

Robotic and Exercise Rehabilitation aquatic therapy

Auricular Acupuncture for Neuropathic Pain in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Auricular Acupuncture

Neuropathic pain is a major problem in individuals with spinal cord injury.

Our research center at UM Rehab has collaborated with the Center for Integrative Medicine and has completed a pilot study showing that a specialized type of auricular acupuncture using semi-permanent needles that stay in the ear for a week can improve pain control in chronic spinal cord injured people.

This study was sponsored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Research Foundation.


Functional Range of Motion Norms for Individuals with Tetraplegia

Individuals with Tetraplegia
  • Examined range of motion and function in a sample of 30 individuals with tetraplegia >1 year
  • Identified prevalence of arm and leg contractures
  • Found a relationship between hip and shoulder flexibility on the ability to do self care activities for individuals with tetraplegia.

This was an unfunded independent pilot study conceived by Sara Kate Frye, with data collection assistance from Hayyan Goodin and design input from Paula Geigle and Henry York.