Politics

Kirk's therapy includes intense walking regimen

Monday, August 13, 2012

The latest video released by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk gives glimpses of his rehabilitation progress following a stroke last January.

While he has not yet been out in the public eye, his doctors are talking about the experimental therapy he received at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). The exercise pushes stroke patients to the limit, treating them more like athletes. Instead of simply walking on a treadmill, Kirk and other patients in the intensive, experimental therapy program most work past obstacles- and walk ten times farther.

George Hornby is the researcher and physical therapist who worked with Kirk and others in the study. While he would not comment on Kirk's progress, Hornby did say the patients getting the intense therapy seem to do really well.

"People just don't walk on level surfaces, so they need to be exposed to those multiple environments they will encounter over ground. Those seem to get us the greatest gains, not just in their walking but in their balance and their ability to get up off a matt after a stroke," George Hornby, PhD, research physical therapist, RIC, said.

Kirk was in the experimental therapy for about nine weeks. He's no longer at RIC and has returned to his North Shore home.

RIC is still looking for study participants. To find out more or apply, visit ric.org

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