Reflex Therapeutics Website

IMF Therapy® in Action

Case Study 4

Personal Testimony from the mother of a child with Spina Bifida

Amnenisis - Julia F.

Julia was born exactly 14 days after my calculated due date. I had enjoyed a pregnancy without any complications and gave birth to a 48 cm girl with a birthweight of 3570 g. During labour I sensed that something was wrong. The doctors explained to me later that my daughter had been born with a birth defect called spina bifida, meaning she had an open wound on her back. In order to treat the wound Julia had to be transferred to the university hospital in the city of Rostock, where she spent the first few weeks of her life. She was suffering from excess pressure to her brain and needed a valvular shunt. We were able to take her home for the first time when she was three months old.

From our very first visits to the hospital we were being informed about possible physiotherapy exercises that could help Julia. These have indeed become part of our daily routine. Nevertheless Julia had to undergo some corrective surgery to her feet. The orthopaedic ward of the university hospital straightened her feet in several operations. Julia had to spend much of her first year in hospital and her bladder and kidneys had to be monitored regularly. At the beginning infections were treated instantly with drugs, but another shunt soon become necessary.

Despite these circumstances Julia grew up to become a very cheerful girl. The daily exercises soon made it possible for her to sit up straight with a little bit of assistance. By the age of two she even managed to control her bladder at night. Predictions that she would remain incontinent were confuted.

When Julia reached crèche age she was supplied with orthoses. The first ones reached up to her hip and were rigid. With the help of a rollator she managed to make her first steps. When she was four years old she joined an integrative playschool in the town of Güstrow. Before starting school she had to undergo repeated control check-ups. Apart from the usual childhood diseases Julia grew up as "healthy" as any other child.

She celebrated her first day at school at our normal local elementary school. With the help of a first wheelchair and wonderful support from her family and the staff at her school she finished elementary school successfully. Over time she became more and more reliant on splints, until, at the age of 9, a hip operation became inevitable. The surgery was carried out at the university hospital in Rostock. Julia recovered quickly, but as a result her left leg is now around 3cm shorter than her right leg. Afterwards new orthoses had to be fitted, but the hips didn’t need any further support. Her wheelchair and a lift in the school building allowed her to eventually gain a secondary school certificate.

A medical adviser from IMF Reha GmbH, Gera, who had introduced himself during a consultation hour in 2003, told me about IMF®-Therapy. First tests were positive and Julia was considered a suitable patient. Julia has been exercising daily at her home ever since, under the guidance of various therapists. We were reasonable happy to see initial results. The general stability of her torso improved considerably.

In November 2004 Julia was taken by surprise by a shunt failure that was diagnosed late. After several misdiagnoses Julia was fitted with a new shunt system. At the same time she developed stiffness in the neck and plegia in both hands. The stiff neck improved rapidly but Julia needed specialised mental treatment to retrieve movement patterns regarding her arms and hands. After a few months this therapy resulted in a success and Julia was able to coordinate her hand movements again.

Meanwhile her walking has improved so much that when at home she doesn’t need the peronäus-splints anymore. The insights we gained in the last 12 months illustrate clearly what a great potential spina bifida patients have. We should make the most of this potential in therapeutic treatment.

Signed Christiane F. (Mother)