Spider Cage builds muscle when children can't

1:47 PM, Aug 15, 2007   |    comments
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Twelve-year-old Margaret Biehl needed surgery to fix a severe heart defect when she was born. However, shortly after, she suffered a stroke that paralyzed her right side. She's been in physical therapy since she was six months old. "She's done occupational therapy, physical therapy, equine therapy, aquatic therapy, brain gym," Eileen Biehl, Margaret's mother said. But recently Margaret had the opportunity to try the Spider Cage at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital Physical Therapy Center in Westlake. It's known as an Universal Exercise Unit. It is popular in Europe, but new to the U.S. and to children. Physical Therapist Ann Marie Pace says it's become a vital tool for her pediatric patients and since March she's used it on 80% of her cases. "We can take those kids who have a very difficult time isolating certain muscles specific motor units and teach them to use those muscles again." Pace said. It works with a series of pulleys and bungee cords attached to a metal cage. Margaret says it's not easy. "It works your stomach muscles and your legs it's hard. I really have to work at it to reach my goal." Eileen's noticed a difference. "I think it's made her more confident. I think she likes the feeling that it's fun and a workout at the same time." Motivation is one of the issues that therapists face, but kids say the Spider Cage is fun and it allows therapists to do more than traditional therapy. "Not only does it strengthen it can stretch out muscles. When kids are growing, one of our biggest challengesis getting them to maintain their strength. As they grow bigger they {muscles) get tighter." Pace says. The Spider Cage can not only be used on stroke patients, but also on children with A-C-L knee repair, Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsey. For more information call the Cleveland Clinic at 440-835-7400 or click the link below.

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