32 years old
"The benefits that I’ve seen and all the changes in my life are absolutely priceless."
Spinal cord injuries, whether partial or complete, change a person’s life forever, or so many medical professionals believe. But patients like Andrew Bell have discovered that new, revolutionary treatments like Epidural Stimulation, along with fierce determination, can help them gain their lives back.
In May 2015, aged 29 years old, Andrew’s life changed forever. He was struck by a negligent driver in the UK while riding his motorcycle, injuring his spinal cord.
The young marathon runner and boxer underwent surgery to implant two large rods in his back, and doctors told him he had a complete T5 spinal injury and would never walk again.
Injuries to the T5 spinal region, located in the mid-back, typically result in the loss of control from the chest down, as it did for Andrew. This includes loss of leg and torso function and control, reduced control of the abdominal muscles, as well as loss of bladder and bowel control. The prognosis for such an injury is usually permanent paralysis, and this was what doctors told Andrew would be the case for him.
But Andrew would have none of that. Determined to remain hopeful that he would one-day walk again, he searched for alternatives.
His search led him to Unique Access Medical in Bangkok Thailand, which offered new, revolutionary spinal cord treatment options, such as Regenerative Treatment and Epidural Stimulation.
Andrew made a phone call. A treatment plan was established, and Andrew got on a flight to Thailand
What is Epidural Stimulation?
Epidural Stimulation is a breakthrough spinal cord injury treatment that utilizes the application of a continuous electrical current to the specified locations of the spinal cord.
Physicians surgically implant the Epidural Stimulator device along the posterior sections of the lumbar spinal cord and surgically connect it with the nervous system. The device rests over the protective coating of the spinal cord and stimulates locomotor-like movement and activity along the spine.
The device is not geared toward stimulating the muscles nor managing pain – it is an implant that the patient will learn how to control for the movement of his limbs.
This is the revolutionary treatment that Andrew was ready to try to achieve real spinal cord injury recovery.
Over the past nearly 3 years, Andrew has now traveled to Bangkok 3 separate times, persistently pursuing full recovery and his goal of walking again.
With each visit, he has seen astounding results. Even by the end of his first visit, he progressed far more than doctors had told him was possible.
But Andrew’s determination, fantastic attitude, and excellent health have all combined with the Epidural Stimulation treatments and therapy to produce unbelievable results.
Andrew’s First Visit: During Andrew’s first visit, he focused on the treatments, receiving regenerative treatment and Epidural Stimulation. After only a few days, Andrew saw excellent progress, regaining controlled movement in his legs. The effect is not uncommon for patients of Epidural Stimulation. He was able to wiggle his feet and move his legs, something that no one believed he would be able to do again. But this was not enough for the young sportsmen. Keeping an ever-positive attitude, Andrew was determined to gain more.
Andrew’s Second Visit: Andrew returned to Bangkok at the end of 2016 to undergo another round of treatment and more extensive therapy. This time, his stay would last 4 months. He underwent intense physical therapy, focusing on exercises to strengthen his trunk, core and balance.By the end of his second visit, Andrew’s progress was truly remarkable. He was now able to take some steps. He transitioned from using the parallel bars to a walker. Perhaps most astoundingly, he could now stand for up to an hour, holding his own body weight.Overall, he was experiencing significant improvement in his trunk and balance control. He was also grateful to see improvement in his bladder control as well. By the end of his second visit, he had decreased from filling up 6 catheters daily to filling only 1 and a half.Finally, he headed home. But he wasn’t going to be stopping his treatment. He was sent home with very extensive treatment plan to be carried out with the help of a UK physical therapist. He continued to work extremely hard, staying positive and determined. But after a few months back home, he decided he needed another round of intensive spinal cord recovery treatment of the type he could only find back at Unique Access in Bangkok.
Andrew’s Third Visit: Andrew returned for another long series of treatment and therapy. Once again, his persistent positive attitude and effort, combined with the breakthrough treatments, did their work and resulted in yet further incredible progress. During this third phase of treatment, Andrew’s legs began regaining significant amounts of muscle mass and strength. He saw an increase from approximately 5 cm to over 7 cm of muscle mass in a considerably brief amount of time as the doctors focused on exercises to increase his leg strength. During this time, Andrew gained the ability to get into a standing position on his own with only the assistance of his walker. He was able to provide an interview while standing. His continued increase in core strength has also enabled him to have a much steadier control of his legs and body as he stands. This increase in steadiness additionally aids his progress on taking steps and walking independent of human assistance.Andrew can now walk much better and more independently, using his walker and crutches. He has also continued to regain bladder and bowel control.
“After having done a lot of research about the Treatment and about Spinal Cord Rehabilitation, personally, I think this is the best place, and the best facility in the world.”
Spinal Cord Injury Incidence
To date, Andrew’s progress as a complete spinal cord injury patient is record breaking. His success has gained national attention from medical professionals and the news industry alike.
As a complete spinal injury patient, Andrew was not supposed to be able to so much as wiggle a toe again, much less stand up on his own and take steps.
The incredible revolutionary Epidural Stimulation treatment, along with Andrew’s inspiring attitude, determination and physical fitness have all resulted in breakthrough progress.
And Andrew is still not done. His goal is to run a marathon once again, and he won’t rest until that goal is achieved. We look forward to hearing updates of his progress.
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