Norfolk, Virginia -February 22, 2007
- For almost a year, David Albright has been traveling about 1,200 miles a month for what he thinks of as a special gym membership. This 36-year-old Suffolk native has been making the 400-mile roundtrip to Fishersville, Virginia and staying overnight in a hotel-all so he can ride a specialized bike for people with spinal cord injuries. For him, it has been well worth the ride for a cardiovascular workout not available anywhere else in Virginia…until now.
Sentara recently received an ERGYS® 2 Rehabilitation System through grant funding provided by the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative to Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fisherville.
Virginia’s first ERGYS was donated to the Fisherville center by Christopher Reeve’s family, following the actor’s death in 2004, with the intent of making it available to many patients. Through this recent grant, a total of 4 additional bikes are being placed at locations throughout the Commonwealth, including the one at Sentara’s Hilltop Therapy Center in Virginia Beach.
How it works.
The specially designed, computerized stationary bike uses low-level electrical stimulation to allow people with little or no voluntary leg movement to actively pedal a stationary bike. Electrical impulses cause coordinated contraction of their thigh, hamstring, and gluteal muscles that power the bike. Sensors provide constant feedback to a computer that controls the sequence of muscle contractions and pedaling resistance.
“My legs have not wasted away, and mentally it helps too,” says Albright, who is now up to a 40 to 60-minute workout on the stationary bike. “It’s really helped me maintain my weight,” he continues.
Who will benefit?
The ERGYS® 2 is designed for individuals who typically have spinal cord injuries between the levels of C3 and T12 or L1.
“Our goal is to offer independent workouts to as many people with spinal cord injuries as possible. To see these patients use their legs in ways they haven’t since their injury is very rewarding,” says Catherine Gilden, MPT who serves as team coordinator at Sentara’s Hilltop Therapy Center.
The new bike is about 35 miles from the home of Albright who plans to use Hampton Roads only ERGYS, instead of driving the 200 miles one-way previously.
“I can use it two or three times a week without being away from home for so long,” says Albright.
Benefits from regular participation with the ERGYS include increased muscle tone, relaxation of muscle spasms, improved circulation and improved range of motion. Published studies also indicate improved cardiopulmonary function, improved bowel and bladder function, decreased incidence of urinary tract infections, and reduced occurrence of pressure sore.
Hilltop Therapy Center, located at 1725 Laskin Road in Virginia Beach, is part of the Sentara Rehabilitation Network, providing specialized rehabilitation programs spanning the continuum of care from inpatient rehabilitation and sub-acute skilled rehabilitation to outpatient rehabilitation, and day rehabilitation. For more information, visit www.sentara.com/rehab
or call 333-7000.
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center is the first state-owned and operated comprehensive rehabilitation center in the country and provides comprehensive medical, assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center is a division of the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. For more information, visit www.wwrc.virginia.gov 11/2007