Buttons has been attending the centre for hydrotherapy since February 17 following a dog attack which left him with a comminuted (2 or more pieces) fracture of his cervical (neck) spine.
Spinal fractures can result in varying degrees of damage to the spinal cord and surrounding soft tissues and supportive structures. There also may be other nerve impingement/injury which needs to be considered. There are many methods of stabilisation post injury and can include; screws and pins, plates, external fixators or combinations. Sometimes conservative management may be the preferred option and in Buttons case this was the chosen method due to the mild displacement (movement of bone fragments) and the significant risks of making him worse.
Initially post injury Buttons was tetraplegic (unable to stand) when he started his hydrotherapy it was 7 months post injury. A full assessment was carried out before gently introducing him to the hydrotherapy pool. It was found that Buttons was able to stand but he was ataxic (unsteady) and had prolonged fore limb proprioception (the sense of limb positioning).
The benefits of the water e.g. viscosity, resistance and buoyancy provides a suitable environment in order to gently improve Buttons strength, muscle and mobility. Buttons has made excellent progress starting with just 1 minute of active swimming in the first sessions with full buoyancy aid and lots of support increasing to currently being able to swim for 12 minutes with less support. A wide variety of activities are also performed to challenge his core stability, improve his flexibility and his condition is being improved (less ataxic and better limb positioning) with the use of ongoing hydrotherapy.