An exoskeleton is just one of the medical advances that could help people with spinal cord injuries walk again. This helpful tool comes from a few different manufacturers, making sure patients have choices.
There are a few different exoskeletons including the ReWalk Robotics Personal System, e-LEGS exoskeleton, REX exoskeleton and Indego by Parker. Here’s a little more about each machine and how it could help those with paralysis obtain the freedoms they’ve lost because of spinal cord injuries.
1. ReWalk Robotics Personal System
A battery-operated system, the ReWalk helps patients walk by monitoring their upper body’s shift in motion. A person who leans forward, for instance, may be trying to walk forward, and it recognizes that and adjusts. It has motors at the hip and knee joints, so it helps provide a functional, natural gait.
This exoskeleton is prevalent across the United States. It is available in over 200 clinical centers and commercially available for people with hemiplegia due to stoke, spinal cord injuries at T4 to L5 and spinal cord injuries at C7 to T3.
3. Indego by Parker
This 26-pound exoskeleton doesn’t have exposed cables or upper-body apparatuses. It also doesn’t have backpack modules, so it’s easier to take on the go. It’s lightweight, wirelessly operated, and it’s intended for those with T3 to L5 injuries.
4. REX exoskeleton
REX is a hands-free device that allows users to walk with autonomous control. It has exercise functions, which allow health care professionals to give patients exercises from home with the knowledge that they will be able to use them with the equipment. It is also widely accessible, since it can be used for people with a range of spinal injuries and mobility impairments.
These and other potential exoskeletons have the potential to help patients become independent despite being unable to feel or use their limbs. On top of that, the goal is that these will actually encourage rehabilitation throughout the process of mimicking human movement. By keeping the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other parts of the body in motion, there could be a reduction in symptoms and complications from spinal injuries.
It’s encouraging to see products like this on the market. Advancements in medical science bring the world closer to a day when those with spinal cord injuries won’t have to worry about losing their ability to walk or use their limbs again. This is just one step in that direction.