Spina bifida literally means “split spine” and is a birth defect in which the vertebrae of the spinal column do not fuse correctly, allowing the spinal cord to stick out through the space between the bones. This most commonly occurs in the sacral and lumbar regions of the lower spine.
Although the spina bifida itself can be surgically closed either after birth or even through intrauterine surgery, this will not restore the damaged spinal cord function.
The effects of spina bifidadiffer according to the location of the spinal opening but all neural signals to body parts below this space will probably be damaged and a wide range of organs, muscles and body functions will be adversely impacted.
Although spina bifida cannot be cured its symptoms can be managed through the use of incontinence pads, controlled diets, enemas and fecal bags and by regular monitoring of bladder, spine and kidney function. Shunts can be inserted to drain off blocked spinal fluid from the brain and orthopedic surgery is common to help to improve the mobility of children’s feet and legs so as to increase their chances or walking with or without aids.
Therapies such as Revivo’s intensive suit treatment in which special skeletal clothing is worn to maintain good body posture and focuses on using repeated movements in a series of progressively more difficult resistance exercises can help to increase muscular strength, range of motion and flexibility, particular when instigated after corrective surgery. It can also help to retrain the brain and improve motor skills, sensory processing, endurance, coordination, balance, and enhanced functional skills.