Patients undergoing rehabilitation for injuries and illnesses often must defy daunting obstacles to regain mobility and independence. Now, with a high-tech treatment modality in use at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (Spaulding), some patients are even defying gravity.
Spaulding is one of Boston’s only rehabilitation centers to use an anti-gravity treadmill called the Alter G to help patients with spinal cord injuries, broken bones and other conditions to retrain their muscles for motion. The treadmill forms a seal around patients’ waists, pressurizing a chamber it’s contained in to mimic a loss of gravity.
“You can dial this down as low as 30% of your body weight and you feel like you’re an astronaut kind of bouncing on top of the treadmill but then you can also dial it up to near close to full body weight,” says Adam Tenforde, MD, a Spaulding sports medicine physician.
The Alter G protocol has helped Chukwuma Anyanwuu, a father of three from Boston, regain his ability to walk after the progressive nerve disorder Poems Syndrome left him suddenly paralyzed. Anyanwuu underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016, and credits Spaulding and the Alter G with helping him return to his life as he once knew it.
“I’ve always believed that I would get back to my normal self and I am working towards it every day, every day,” he says.
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Image from CBS.