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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 7, November/December 2006
Pages 905 — 916


Abstract - Locomotor training: Experiencing the changing body

Elizabeth M. Hannold, PhD;1-2* Mary Ellen Young, PhD, CRC;2 Maude R. Rittman, PhD, RN;1,3
Mark G . Bowden, MS, PT;4 Andrea L. Behrman, PhD, PT4-5

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center, Gainesville, FL; 2Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and 3College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; 4VA Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida; 5Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Abstract — This study examined the experiences of persons with incomplete spinal cord injury who participated in loco-motor training (LT). LT is an emerging rehabilitation intervention for enhancing the recovery of walking in persons with central nervous system disorders. Multiple interviews and field observations provided data from eight participants, including four veterans. Findings indicate that experiences of bodily changes were prevalent among participants. Themes included (1) experiencing impaired or absent proprioception, (2) struggling for bodily control, and (3) experiencing emergent bodily sensations. Themes 1 and 2 reflected bodily disruption as a result of spinal cord injury and were challenging to participants as they attempted to reconnect the body and self through LT. Theme 3 reflected bodily sensations (burning, soreness) that were seen as positive signs of recovery and resulted in hope and motivation. Understanding how LT participants experience bodily changes may enable therapists to develop improved participant-centered intervention approaches.
Key words: body modification, locomotor training, patient experiences, physical therapy techniques, qualitative research, recovery of function, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, treadmill, walking.

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