His spine burst at T-10 and he is paralyzed from the waist down. He is able to tell you which direction his toes are being pushed and he feels pressure in his legs & bottom. He won't go back to rehab because he says they won't do anything except range of motion exercises. I need something to tell him to encourage him to go back to rehab. Please help
Tell your son to keep up the rehab. I was partially paralyzed after breaking my neck and having a C3 to T1 fusion. I didn't start to get any movement in my left arm until 9 months after the surgery and went back to PT and got it moving again. I can now hold my granddaughter(2 1/2).
I also had brain damage after the surgery. It took me 6 months to be able to read again and remember what I was reading. But I lost the ability to write by hand. So once I could read I went and got a book on brain plasticity. The brain and to some extent, the spinal cord, are "plastic" in that they can re-route nerve pathways after damage. That is why kids with major seizure disorders can have half a brain removed and be okay. The spine can do it to(to a lesser extent) but there are fewer pathways for it to claim and re-route on.
But what rehab does is repeats the movement over and over to make the brain and spinal cord remember and write a new route for the signals to go. That is why it's so repetative and boring....it's trying to teach an old dog new tricks but it works. If he stops now, he has no hope. If he continues, he has some hope.
So I took that same advice on started to trace things. I started small and then let it get more and more intricate. And then I started to write. I looked like I had first grade handwriting at first but now it is much better.....and I'm 3 1/2 years out from injury.
If I had given up 2-3 months after my injury I would probably not be walking very well, would have no use of my left arm/hand and would not be reading or writing. But I knew the brain/spinal cord take a long time to heal and so I've kept it up. Tell your son that even if you accidently cut a tiny nerve in your skin, it takes 8-9 months for that nerve to grow enough to re-join and heal so why is he giving up at 2 months? The old saying that nerves can't heal themselves is WRONG. They can, they just take a long, long time and a lot of work.
What he probably needs more than anything right now is some psychological help to get over the trauma of the accident......that can be the biggest obstacle of all...the mind. I had a big "self pity" period when I needed help and I got it. Made all the difference in the world. I realized it was okay to feel sorry for myself but not to stop the needed treatment because of it.
He is WAY early in the rehabilitation process. There is so much they can offer him. I'm sure it's partly his depression or frustration talking, but as his body adjusts to the changes the joints and muscles need different types of movement, therapy, etc. Are there any resources in your area? I was thinking some agency or hospital that could hook your son up with someone with a similar injury, but much farther along in the rehab process who has done really well and can mentor your son.