Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Mark Romanick


Myelitis, Transverse -- rehabilitation; Myelitis, Transverse -- therapy; Case Reports


Background and Purpose: Idiopathic acute transverse myelitis (ATM) is an inflammation in the spinal cord that develops suddenly. In the span of a day, an individual can lose all motor control. Most of the time the motor impairment is not permanent and strength can return as the inflammation dies down. However the physical rehabilitation component of recovery is remarkably unstudied.

Case Description: This case report details the hospital stay of a young man with ATM from the perspective of his physical therapists. When evaluated, the patient had only trace (1/5) muscle strength in some of his extremities.

Intervention: Physical therapy intervention included passive range of motion progressing to resisted range of motion, postural muscle strengthening, and patient education.

Outcomes: As the patient participated in physical therapy, motor control and strength improved. After two weeks of therapy, he was medically stable enough to discharge to an intensive rehabilitation facility. At discharge he had at least 3/5 strength in all of his extremities.

Discussion: Following up on the improvement that was seen in this patient as he received physical therapy, the case report suggests future directions for researching physical therapy and acute transverse myelitis.