20 years old
"To see the improvements I saw in the short 6 weeks, I can’t imagine what will happen in the months and years to come down the road."
After sustaining a Spinal Cord Injury, Andrew Valadka was determined to improve his condition. With the help of regenerative treatment and Epidural Stimulation together with lots of hard work, he was able to do just that.
Like most active high school aged boys, Chicago native Andrew Valadka liked to spend a lot of time playing sports and exercising.
Unfortunately, Andrew's world turned upside down after a life changing accident that occurred while playing American football. This accident left him with a C6 Spinal Cord Injury. When the C6 vertebrae is injured, it can cause paralysis in the hands, torso, and legs. It can also impact the ability to speak.
This kind of injury is devastating to anyone it impacts, but especially a growing young man. Out of nowhere, Andrew Valadka was relying on a wheelchair and left with only the hope of one day being able to walk again. However, he was determined to find a way to help him restore his ability to walk, and so he set his sights on discovering an effective spinal cord injury treatment to help him.
Andrew and his family knew that they would have to scour alternative treatments and do a ton of research to try to find the treatment that would work best for them, and eventually they heard about Epidural Stimulation through Unique Access Medical. After researching previous patients and various Patient Testimonials, Andrew and his family made the decision to fly to Bangkok to pursue this treatment. They were largely inspired by the story of Andrew Bell, who had remarkable success with mobility after undergoing the Epidural Stimulation procedure.
What is Epidural Stimulation?
Epidural Stimulation involves an electrical current being directly applied to a specific part of the lumbar spinal cord through the use of a surgically implanted device on top of the patient’s spinal cord. The system is made up of a neuro stimulator and a set of thin wires. The neuro stimulator is the generation hub of the electrical pulses that stimulate muscles and the wires are covered in a protective coating and electrodes that act to transmit pulses.
During Andrew's Epidural Stimulation treatment he also underwent physiotherapy, a process to assist the coordination between the brain and the muscles to stimulate more voluntary control. Another essential part of the Epidural Stimulation procedure is known as Mapping. Mapping involves the tracking and recording in detail of exactly which muscles are working and responding to the implanted device when it is triggered. The goal is for the muscles to improve their response to the electric stimulator from the device.
"I wasn’t sure it was going to happen that quickly, but it did."
At the beginning of his spinal cord injury recovery, the combination of Physiotherapy and Mapping helped Andrew achieve significant improvements in his condition. After only two weeks, he found himself able to perform a two-legged squat voluntarily and on command. He knows that in order to keep improving the strength and stability of his leg muscles, he must continue to strive to create a closer relationship between his nervous system and the implanted device. Throughout his treatment, he continued to have a great attitude and eagerly worked towards his next goal, making sure to set small, attainable challenges for himself throughout his therapy.
Andrew's Overall Experience with Epidural Stimulation
Together with the Epidural Stimulation implant, Andrew also received regenerative treatment and underwent an extensive rehabilitation program.
As a result of just six short weeks of treatment, Andrew had enough strength to stand within the parallel bars all by himself. To his delight, he also began to regain his ability to voluntarily move and control his leg muscles both while standing and while sitting in his wheelchair.
This added leg mobility did wonders for his recovery, as he was now able to add exercises that helped improve his cardiovascular health and core strength that he was unable to do before.
“To see the improvements I saw in the short 6 weeks, I can’t imagine what will happen in the months and years to come down the road.”
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
Andrew Valadka has certainly benefited from this breakthrough spinal cord injury treatment, much like Andrew Bell’s inspirational story, and his promising results show no sign of slowing down. He is determined to continue to achieve these life changing results, and he certainly has laid some promising groundwork for his recovery.