What Can Be Achieved Through TheraTogs Usage?

 

TheraTogs usage is advantageous for persons with muscular skeletal or sensory impairments. Improvements while wearing a TheraTogs system are evident both immediately through the fitting and donning as well as long term through continuous usage. More important for the user however are the effects accumulated through term usage.

Instantaneous Usage Advantages:

When donning the TheraTogs the user will experience:

  1. Immediate improvement in trunk and spine stability through the attainment of an internal trunk pre-stress
  2. Immediate improvements in posture and postural competence
  3. Immediate improvements in skeletal alignment through garment and strapping applications
  4. Functional weight bearing improvements
  5. Improvements in counter balancing
  6. Improvements in limb functioning

The first three above outlined advantages allow for reduction of both sensory and energy costly muscular “over-drive” in weak and stiff (spastic) individuals. The magnitude of the importance of a reduction of the “over-drive” for a person with motor impairments can be understood when considering the following:

  • It has been shown that – in comparison to a healthy individual – a walking individual with cerebral palsy has a three to five times higher energy expenditure for performing an equal task.  This reveals that the reliance upon “muscular overdrive” for performing tasks in an individual with cerebral palsy is an energy expensive endeavor. The question then arises: With such a high energy expenditure, how can the patient gain sufficient energy resource availability which would allow him able to “invest” in the strengthening and rehabilitation of weak tissues and in tissue reconstruction?

TheraTogs usage – through reducing the reliance on muscular overdrive – contributes to muscular relaxation, which in turn allows for the needed biomechanical remodeling and improvement.

  • It has been shown that human tissues remodel based upon force transfer and bio-mechanical loading. Poor skeletal alignment in patients with muscular-skeletal impairments presents itself as a self-sustaining vicious cycle that is difficult or impossible to overcome. Faulty mechanical loading through weight bearing activities serves to promote further modeling of tissues following the preferred – though faulty – stress transfer lines  – contractures and scoliosis being only a few of the later and more profound outcomes.

Through improving the mechanical loading properties and providing new preferred pathways the TheraTogs is able to promote a more biomechanically sound tissue remodeling for the user. This has a long-term effect upon both preventing joint degeneration, actually improving the condition of weakened joints, and improving faulty muscular skeletal alignment.

  • At the same time a person with cerebral palsy or other muscular skeletal disorders must constantly over engage the usage of the central nervous system when performing motor functions – meaning – that these individuals have little or no “auto-pilot” mode of motor function.

Through achieving a heightened trunk stability, it becomes possible for the patient to begin to rely on the “auto-pilot” functioning that is normally present in the healthy person who possesses trunk and core strength and stability. This then frees up the central nervous system for other activities – both emotional and cognitive.

Here we can observe both immediate improvements and improvement over time in emotional and cognitive development of users.

  • The attained improved alignment and posture is sending a more normalized proprioceptive “feedback” to the central nervous system on a continuous basis, allowing for an improved muscular skeletal integration within the CNS.

The user is able to emerge from the sensory chaos that impaired structure is imposing upon his sensory system and to gain an improved organization of the proprioceptive base – both for further development of both his motor functions and the emotional and cognitive functions as described in 3 above.

Gains in Function

The TheraTogs provides the trunk with support and alignment of the pelvis and ribcage – improving trunk and core stability. This is achieved through a unique fabric design.  The fabric works in such a way as to provide a healthy “pre-stress” to the tissues that does not in any way disrupt the healthy micro-vascularization of the tissues.

Ordinary compressional garments have been shown to disrupt the micro-vascularizational flow, which then in turn has a negative effect upon tissue development and tissue remodeling.

The TheraTogs fabric construction integrates into the tissue system of the body of the user. As it is worn directly on the skin, the specialized foam construction grips to the external layers of the connective tissues and fascia reaching even the fascia-profound level at the muscular transition. This grip to the skin quality – instead of inhibiting tissue health and “squeezing the tissues” works to improve tissue health.

When donning the garment one first adjusts the pelvis and rib cage manually and thereafter stabilizes the improved position utilizing the garment. This has an immediate and a long-term effect upon function.

A more stable core allows for improvements in:

     Head and neck control

     Hand and arm usage and coordination

     Mini – adjustments and counter balancing movements important for all attempts of the user to find and maintain the upright position.

     Stabilization of the shoulder girdle with respect to the pelvic girdle

     Leg positioning in respect to the pelvis

     Improvements in walking function

     Etc.

Users experience a much greater ease of motor function. Many children are suddenly able to “do things” they could not or did not do without the TheraTogs. The repertoire increases significantly which in turn gives the child/adult a positive emotional feedback, strengthens the user’s motivation and confidence for additional motor exploration. Counter balancing and micro movement adjustments become more readily available with TheraTogs usage showing us that it is not the central nervous system alone that is responsible for the motor impairment but that the ensuing trunk weakness plays a great role in impairment expression.

Further TheraTogs advantages:

  • Proper usage implies that the garment and strapping is regularly adjusted to follow the users improvements in structure and function.  The TheraTogs is not a “fixed” garment but evolves along with the structural and functional development and improvements of the user.
  • The garment is backed with special foam that clings to and in effect merges with the skin. This means that the garment does not slide over the users body when the user moves, but it is fully integrated into the users dynamic movements and positional changes through a connection to the muscles and deep fascia layers.
  • The garment provides stability but does not impair the users own movements.  This is a great advantage as many orthotics provide stability but significantly limit movement.  Limitation of movement as well as a compressional level that reduces the micro-vascularization has been shown to further promote structural degeneration and reduce improvement potential.
  • The physical therapist can also use a variety of strapping applications during the physical therapy sessions to promote various activities in the user.

Diane Vincentz

Director

ABR Denmark

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