Objective: To determine physical activity levels of community dwelling persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) who received inpatient rehabilitation at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre (SJGRC). This study also explored the perceived barriers to exercise and the development of secondary health complications.
Methods: A non-experimental cross-sectional analysis of relationships was done. Participants were recruited from the SJGRC discharge files. Three questionnaires (The Physical Activity and Disability Scale, Spinal Cord Injury Secondary Conditions Scale and the Barriers to Exercise and Disability Scale) were administered via a telephone interview.
Results: Only 58.3% of patients were engaged in some form of exercise and of that amount only 6% engaged in vigorous exercise. The main secondary conditions affecting both persons with paraplegia and quadriplegia were spasticity, chronic, muscle and joint pain. There were no significant differences between persons having paraplegia and quadriplegia in relation to physical activity levels, development of secondary conditions or barriers to exercise. Most persons were interested in an exercise programme but the most common barriers to exercise were cost and not knowing where they could go to exercise.
Conclusion: Regardless of injury level, persons with spinal cord injury living in their communities in Jamaica are not engaged in adequate levels of exercise to confer health benefits and aid with healthy ageing. Barriers like cost, availability and accessibility of facilities must be addressed if this situation is to improve.