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PT School Clinical: Spinal Cord Injuries and Mobilizations

This post is included in a 5-part series about my part-time clinical in PT school, which occurred during my 2nd year of physical therapy school. Click the following links for the complete series:

Day 3

I’m starting to recognize patients that have been there for a few weeks, so it’s nice to establish a relationship with them. I’m having trouble remembering some of their names because I only go into the clinic for one day, every other week.

I learned more about muscle energy techniques, autonomic dysreflexia, hip joint traction and posterior hip mobilizations. I practiced the mobilizations on my CI before I practiced it on a patient. Even though I used my entire body to perform the traction, it felt like I wasn’t strong enough to actually do it properly. It’s difficult to perform mobilizations with tables that don’t adjust, and I need to continue improving my body mechanics because I got tired really quickly.

I was able to watch an evaluation on a patient who had a complete spinal cord injury (SCI). He came to physical therapy because he had 8/10 pain in his legs. I didn’t realize that people who are paraplegic can still feel sensations in those areas. He had clonus in his legs, which means that he had muscle spasms when we moved his legs through a passive range of motion (PROM). I was able to take his ROM measurements while the PT held his leg in the proper position. It was really interesting to see this evaluation, since it’s pretty different from other orthopedics evaluations that I’ve seen.

I was able to see 4 or 5 evaluations today, so it was helpful to be able to recognize a basic pattern to the evaluations. Some patients had similar pathologies, so I was able to see similar techniques performed on each patient. For example, two patients had a leg length discrepancy, so the PT performed muscle energy techniques to “realign their pelvises”.

I’ve also been able to eat smith island cake the past two times I’ve gone into the clinic! The first cake was to celebrate someone’s birthday, and the second cake was to celebrate National Boss’s Day which was on October 17th this year. I’ve never had smith island cakes before, so I feel pretty lucky to have been able to eat them twice now.

Do you have any tips for PT school clinicals? Share them below!

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    • myroadtopt

      Thank you so much for the sweet comments and for following my blog! I love reading through your blog, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences once you begin school.