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Could an exoskeleton provide relief for victims of spine injuries?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2021 | Catastrophic Injuries |

A spinal cord injury after an accident can have serious long-term consequences. Chronic constipation and incontinence are only some of the serious problems that arise. Researchers, however, say that robotic exoskeleton-assisted walking can improve these conditions.

Typical problem

A spinal cord injury is any damage or injury to the collection of nerves that start at the brain and go down the back encased in the vertebrae. Trauma is the leading cause of a spinal cord injury. Loss of blood flow to the spinal cord can also cause this injury.

A complete injury results in no function below the level of injury. In an incomplete injury, there is some function below the level of injury.

A spinal cord injury may damage the nerves that help control the person’s colon which is responsible for sending solid waste out of the body. This condition interferes in the way of an individual’s normal ability to store and dispose of waste.

This injury, as a result, often causes constipation and uncomfortable bowel accidents. Over a third of men who suffered a spinal cord injury said that bowel and bladder problems had the greatest impact on their lives.

Treatment usually involved the targeting of the gastrointestinal system. However, according to recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, physical activity and upright posture may improve the functioning of the colon and provide hope for a person suffering these personal injuries.


This research involved 49 patients who underwent and completed 36 sessions of exoskeleton-assisted walking. Its findings indicate that physical activity and upright posture with the aid of exoskeletons could help improve colon functions. Exoskeletons help patients by allowing them to stand and walk.

There was a notable reduction bowel evacuation time for these patients, according to the director of the Kessler Foundation’s Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Simulation who was the study’s co-author. Twenty-four percent of participants had a better experience.

A news release issued by the foundation claimed that the findings supported the theory that this intervention could improve several measures of bowel function. It also supports the proposition that walking instead of just standing may be beneficial.

Spinal cord injuries symptoms

Symptoms and signs include:

  • Loss of bowel and bladder function.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Loss of feeling in the chest, arms, or legs.
  • Absence of voluntary muscle movement in the chest, arms, or legs.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Leg or arm paralysis.

Victims who suffer a spinal cord injury may be entitled to compensation if their injury was caused by another person’s negligence. An attorney can help them seek evidence and timely file a lawsuit.