I am a C-1 C-2 quad paralyzed from the neck down and I can sit in a chair without the support of someone else. This is a pretty amazing feat for someone in my situation. I was told by my physical therapist that not many people like me would be able to hold themselves up and have somebody take their hands away. I'm also able to sit up on the edge of my bed in a similar fashion without support.
I have physical therapy three days a week and manual therapy and massage therapy once a week. Therapy is one of the most important things in my life today. Some of the benefits I get from it are pain management, movement, relaxation of muscles, and building stamina. It's important for people to know that I wouldn't have the ability to do some of the things I do without it. Just being in my wheelchair for 8 to 10 hours a day would be difficult without managing the pain I have and building up stamina so that my body can tolerate it. Also through physical therapy, I've learned how to tighten and move muscles that I probably otherwise wouldn't have.
When I sit in a chair, my physical therapist first holds on to me for a little bit so I can get in the right position. Then when she lets go, it's up to me to use my abdominal and back muscles to keep myself sitting straight. If I start to lean a little one way, I have to tighten the muscles on the opposite side to bring myself straight again. That goes for forward, back, left and right. I work very hard during these sessions and it does wear me out afterwards, but it is definitely worth it. Although it may look easy from the pictures, the strength and energy it takes for me to do this can be compared to running a marathon.
I'm very proud of myself for accomplishing such great things. It would be easy for me (as it is for many) to just say "no thanks, I don't need therapy" but I know different and so does my body. I hope that others see how important physical therapy is and that it can bring about a better quality of life for people.