Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2018 Jul;15(3):604-617.
doi: 10.1007/s13311-018-0642-3.

Robotic Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury: A Narrative Review

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

Robotic Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury: A Narrative Review

Marwa Mekki et al. Neurotherapeutics. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Mobility after spinal cord injury (SCI) is among the top goals of recovery and improvement in quality of life. Those with tetraplegia rank hand function as the most important area of recovery in their lives, and those with paraplegia, walking. Without hand function, emphasis in rehabilitation is placed on accessing one's environment through technology. However, there is still much reliance on caretakers for many activities of daily living. For those with paraplegia, if incomplete, orthoses exist to augment walking function, but they require a significant amount of baseline strength and significant energy expenditure to use. Options for those with motor complete paraplegia have traditionally been limited to the wheelchair. While wheelchairs provide a modified level of independence, wheelchair users continue to face difficulties in access and mobility. In the past decade, research in SCI rehabilitation has expanded to include external motorized or robotic devices that initiate or augment movement. These robotic devices are used with 2 goals: to enhance recovery through repetitive, functional movement and increased neural plasticity and to act as a mobility aid beyond orthoses and wheelchairs. In addition, lower extremity exoskeletons have been shown to provide benefits to the secondary medical conditions after SCI such as pain, spasticity, decreased bone density, and neurogenic bowel. In this review, we discuss advances in robot-guided rehabilitation after SCI for the upper and lower extremities, as well as potential adjuncts to robotics.

Keywords: Robotics; exoskeleton; neurorehabilitation; paraplegia; spinal cord injury; tetraplegia..

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 5 articles

Feedback