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Front Neurol, 2017; 8(): 416, PMID: 28861038

Alleviation of Motor Impairments in Patients with Cerebral Palsy: Acute Effects of Whole-body Vibration on Stretch Reflex Response, Voluntary Muscle Activation and Mobility.

Year: 2017

Krause A, Schonau E, Gollhofer A, Duran I, Ferrari-Malik A, Freyler K, Ritzmann R
Department of Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


INTRODUCTION: Individuals suffering from cerebral palsy (CP) often have involuntary, reflex-evoked muscle activity resulting in spastic hyperreflexia. Whole-body vibration (WBV) has been demonstrated to reduce reflex activity in healthy subjects, but evidence in CP patients is still limited. Therefore, this study aimed to establish the acute neuromuscular and kinematic effects of WBV in subjects with spastic CP. METHODS: 44 children with spastic CP were tested on neuromuscular activation and kinematics before and immediately after a 1-min bout of WBV (16-25 Hz, 1.5-3 mm). Assessment included (1) recordings of stretch reflex (SR) activity of the triceps surae, (2) electromyography (EMG) measurements of maximal voluntary muscle activation of lower limb muscles, and (3) neuromuscular activation during active range of motion (aROM). We recorded EMG of m. soleus (SOL), m. gastrocnemius medialis (GM), m. tibialis anterior, m. vastus medialis, m. rectus femoris, and m. biceps femoris. Angular excursion was recorded by goniometry of the ankle and knee joint. RESULTS: After WBV, (1) SOL SRs were decreased (p < 0.01) while (2) maximal voluntary activation (p < 0.05) and (3) angular excursion in the knee joint (p < 0.01) were significantly increased. No changes could be observed for GM SR amplitudes or ankle joint excursion. Neuromuscular coordination expressed by greater agonist-antagonist ratios during aROM was significantly enhanced (p < 0.05). DISCUSSION: The findings point toward acute neuromuscular and kinematic effects following one bout of WBV. Protocols demonstrate that pathological reflex responses are reduced (spinal level), while the execution of voluntary movement (supraspinal level) is improved in regards to kinematic and neuromuscular control. This facilitation of muscle and joint control is probably due to a reduction of spasticity-associated spinal excitability in favor of giving access for greater supraspinal input during voluntary motor control.

Keywords: CP, Cerebral Palsy, Voluntray Muscel Activation, Spastisity Management
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GID: 4502; Last update: 04.09.2017
More information: Original Article