In the U.S. alone, over 11,000 people experience spinal cord injury (SCI) each year. Current treatments for SCIs rely on rehabilitation strategies that focus on functional restoration by maximizing the residual function through exercise and training. Although greatly beneficial, conventional rehabilitation therapy based approaches do not result in complete restoration of sensory and motor function, thereby warranting newer methods to enhance the cure for SCI. Techniques employing body weight supported training (BWST) and functional electric stimulation have been reported to help maximize the residual function of the injured spinal cord. Ever since these findings and their beneficial outcomes in SCI patients, several patent filings have occurred. This paper aims to review some of the most recent patents and discuss their possibilities to enhance functional recovery in SCI patients.
Keywords: Spinal cord injury, rehabilitation therapy, therapeutic exercises, locomotor training, body weight support, treadmill, functional electrical stimulation, sensory function, motor function, functional recovery