The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is offering Physiotherapy patients a new anti-gravity option as part of their rehabilitation.
Using technology developed by NASA to help astronauts exercise in space, the anti-gravity treadmills allow patients with weight bearing difficulty through injury or disease, to walk with reduced gravity.
Thanks to public donations to the Trust, around 250 patients recovering from surgery or with musculoskeletal conditions have benefitted from using the two anti-gravity treadmills since they were installed in Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospitals earlier this year. They are also beneficial for the function and wellbeing of some patients with neurological, cardiovascular or other long term conditions.
The new high-tech treadmills have all the same functionality of a normal treadmill, however by using air pressure, allow patients to exercise at partial body weight, which reduces pressure on their joints and is less painful. Wendy Guy, Advanced Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist explains: “For suitable patients, the new anti-gravity treadmill can make recovery much easier and quicker, allowing the patient to rehabilitate from surgery or injury with less pain and impact. It is beneficial for people with pain, muscle weakness or mobility problems.”
Charlene Lyness from Tandragee is just one of the many people who have benefitted from the treadmills. Charlene aged 51, is a busy mum of four grown-up children and manages a local bakery full-time, says: “I suffer from severe arthritis in my knees but am too young for replacement surgery and having struggled with my weight I was in far too much pain to exercise. Along with the injections I get to manage my pain, using the anti-gravity treadmill has made such a difference to my life. I can now run comfortably for about 20 minutes, my overall health and fitness has greatly improved and having lost three stone in weight I am feeling much better in myself.”