Impairment Control, Capacity Building and Health Maintenance Unit
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with a variety of impairments, limited physical capacity and a number of secondary health conditions. All of these problems, their symptoms and their interaction can negatively affect activities and participation and thus contribute to the experience of disability and a decline in quality of life. Control of impaired body functions, capacity building and health maintenance are therefore major concerns to people with SCI.
Our research aims at the comprehensive understanding of:
- morphological, physiological and biomechanical mechanisms behind impairment in SCI (e.g., the association between wheelchair propulsion and upper extremity pain),
- factors influencing physical capacity particularly with regard to mobility (e.g., upper body strength),
- mechanisms that contribute to the prevention of comorbidities and complications of SCI over the life-span (e.g., the health maintaining effects of physical activity), and
- the distribution of impairments, physical capacity and health-enhancing behavior in the population.
Based on the gained knowledge we aim to identify, develop and evaluate:
- methods to improve and preserve impaired body functions and structures and associated symptoms (e.g., the use of mobility devices other than the wheelchair),
- approaches to optimize capacity and performance in interaction with the environment (e.g., by upper-extremity surgery or targeted exercise), and
- interventions to influence disease and aging processes and to prevent comorbidities and complications related to SCI.