Effects of prolonged muscle stretch on reflex and voluntary muscle activations in children with spastic cerebral palsy.

date: 01/01/1990
author: Tremblay F, Malouin F, Richards CL, Dumas F.
publication: Scand J Rehabilitation Medicine. 1990;22(4):171-80.
pubmed_ID: 2263918

We studied the short term effects of a single session of prolonged muscle stretch (PMS) on reflex and voluntary muscle activations in 22 children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) assigned to an experimental (n = 12) and a control group (n = 10). Children of the experimental group underwent PMS of the triceps surae (TS) by standing with the feet dorsiflexed on a tilt-table for 30 min, whereas children of the control group were kept at rest. The effects were determined by measuring the associated changes in torque and in electromyographic (EMG) activity of the TS and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles during both passive ankle movements and maximal static voluntary contractions. The results indicate that PMS led to reduced spasticity in ankle muscles as demonstrated by the significant reductions (p less than 0.05) of the neuromuscular responses (torque and EMG) to passive movement. These inhibitory effects lasted up to 35 min after cessation of PMS. In addition, the capacity to voluntarily activate the plantar flexors was significantly (p less than 0.05) increased post-PMS, but the capacity to activate the dorsiflexors was apparently not affected. These findings suggest that repeated sessions of PMS may have beneficial effects in the management of spasticity in children with CP.

Considerations related to weight-bearing programs in children with developmental disabilities.

date: 01/01/1992
author: Stuberg WA.
publication: Phys Ther. 1992 Jan;72(1):35-40.
pubmed_ID: 1728047

Standing is a common modality used in the management of children with developmental disabilities. The purpose of this article is to examine the scientific basis for standing programs, with specific emphasis on the known effects of weight bearing on bone development. Guidelines for the use of standing programs are presented, and the supporting rationale is discussed.

Reduction of muscular hypertonus by long-term muscle stretch.

date: 01/01/1981
author: Odeen I.
publication: Scand J Rehabilitation Medicine. 1981;13(2-3):93-9.
pubmed_ID: 7345572

In 10 patients with spastic paraparesis, the effect of long-term stretch on hip adductor muscle tone was studied. Stretch was accomplished by using a mechanical leg-abductor device giving individually adjusted adductor muscle stretch in single or repeated 30 min periods. The effect on muscle tone was estimated from surface EMG activity and by range of voluntary and passive hip abduction. The passive movements were obtained by an individually adjusted constant pulling force. After a single session of stretch, range of voluntary hip abduction increased 3 to 16 degrees (average 85%). Range of passive movement increased 1 to 9 degrees (average 23%). After repeated stretch periods in a home program (4 patients), range of voluntary hip abduction increased 5 to 22 degrees (average 255%). Range of passive movements increased 6 to 12 degrees (average 48%). In all patients studied the co-activation of the antagonists in voluntary hip abduction was reduced after a stretch session.

Extent and direction of joint motion limitation after prolonged immobility: an experimental study in the rat.

date: 12/01/1999
author: Trudel G, Uhthoff HK, Brown M.
publication: Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation. 1999 Dec;80(12):1542-7.
pubmed_ID: 10597804

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypotheses that contractures progress at different rates in relation to the time after immobilization, that immobilization in flexion leads to loss of extension range of motion, and that joints of sham-operated animals are better controls than the contralateral joint of experimental animals. STUDY DESIGN: Experimental, controlled study in which 40 adult rats had one knee joint immobilized at 135 degrees of flexion for up to 32 weeks and 20 animals underwent a sham procedure. At intervals of 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 weeks, 8 experimental and 4 sham-operated animals were killed and their knee motion measured in flexion and extension. RESULTS: In the experimental group, the range of motion decreased in the first 16 weeks of immobility at an average rate of 3.8 degrees per week (p<.0001) to reach 61.1 degrees of restriction. A plateau was then observed from which the contracture did not progress further. The loss in range of motion occurred in extension, not in flexion. CONCLUSION: This study defined an acute stage of contractures starting at the onset of immobility and lasting 16 weeks, during which the range of motion was progressively restricted, and a chronic stage during which no additional limitation was detected. The loss in motion was attributed to posterior knee structures not under tension during immobilization in flexion. Contrary to the hypothesis, the contralateral joint was validated as a control choice for range-of-motion experiments.

Bone-loading response varies with strain magnitude and cycle number.

date: 11/01/2001
author: Cullen DM, Smith RT, Akhter MP.
publication: J Appl Physiol. 2001 Nov;91(5):1971-6.
pubmed_ID: 11641332

Mechanical loading stimulates bone formation and regulates bone size, shape, and strength. It is recognized that strain magnitude, strain rate, and frequency are variables that explain bone stimulation. Early loading studies have shown that a low number (36) of cycles/day (cyc) induced maximal bone formation when strains were high (2,000 microepsilon) (Rubin CT and Lanyon LE. J Bone Joint Surg Am 66: 397-402, 1984). This study examines whether cycle number directly affects the bone response to loading and whether cycle number for activation of formation varies with load magnitude at low frequency. The adult rat tibiae were loaded in four-point bending at 25 (-800 microepsilon) or 30 N (-1,000 microepsilon) for 0, 40, 120, or 400 cyc at 2 Hz for 3 wk. Differences in periosteal and endocortical formation were examined by histomorphometry. Loading did not stimulate bone formation at 40 cyc. Compared with control tibiae, tibiae loaded at -800 microepsilon showed 2.8-fold greater periosteal bone formation rate at 400 cyc but no differences in endocortical formation. Tibiae loaded at -1,000 microepsilon and 120 or 400 cyc had 8- to 10-fold greater periosteal formation rate, 2- to 3-fold greater formation surface, and 1-fold greater endocortical formation surface than control. As applied load or strain magnitude decreased, the number of cyc required for activation of formation increased. We conclude that, at constant frequency, the number of cyc required to activate formation is dependent on strain and that, as number of cyc increases, the bone response increases.

Case study to evaluate a standing table for managing constipation.

date: 06/01/2001
author: Hoenig H, Murphy T, Galbraith J, Zolkewitz M.
publication: SCI Nurse 2001 Summer;18(2):74-7.
pubmed_ID: 12035465

Standing devices have been advocated as a potentially beneficial treatment for constipation in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI); however, definitive data are lacking. A case of a patient who requested a standing table to treat chronic constipation is presented as an illustration of a method to address this problem on an individual patient level. The patient was a 62-year-old male with T12-L1 ASIA B paraplegia who was injured in 1965. The patient was on chronic narcotics for severe, nonoperable shoulder pain. His bowel program had been inadequate to prevent impactions. A systematic approach was used to measure the effects of a standing table on frequency of bowel movements (BMs) and on length of bowel care episodes. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in frequency of BMs and a decrease in bowel care time with the use of the standing table 5 times/week versus baseline. For this patient, the use of the standing table was a clinically useful addition to his bowel care program.

Regulation of bone mass by mechanical strain magnitude.

date: 08/01/1985
author: Rubin CT, Lanyon LE.
publication: Calcif Tissue Int. 1985 Jul;37(4):411-7.
pubmed_ID: 3930039

The in vivo remodeling behavior within a bone protected from natural loading was modified over an 8-week period by daily application of 100 consecutive 1 Hz load cycles engendering strains within the bone tissue of physiological rate and magnitude. This load regime resulted in a graded dose:response relationship between the peak strain magnitude and change in the mass of bone tissue present. Peak longitudinal strains below 0.001 were associated with bone loss which was achieved by increased remodeling activity, endosteal resorption, and increased intra-cortical porosis. Peak strains above 0.001 were associated with little change in intra-cortical remodeling activity but substantial periosteal and endosteal new bone formation.

Use of prolonged standing for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

date: 08/01/2001
author: Eng JJ, Levins SM, Townson AF, Mah-Jones D, Bremner J, Huston G.
publication: Phys Ther. 2001 Aug;81(8):1392-9.
pubmed_ID: 11509069

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Prolonged standing in people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) has the potential to affect a number of health-related areas such as reflex activity, joint range of motion, or well-being. The purpose of this study was to document the patterns of use of prolonged standing and their perceived effects in subjects with SCIs. SUBJECTS: The subjects were 152 adults with SCIs (103 male, 49 female; mean age=34 years, SD=8, range=18-55) who returned mailed survey questionnaires. METHODS: A 17-item self-report survey questionnaire was sent to the 463 members of a provincial spinal cord support organization. RESULTS: Survey responses for 26 of the 152 respondents were eliminated from the analysis because they had minimal effects from their injuries and did not need prolonged standing as an extra activity. Of the 126 remaining respondents, 38 respondents (30%) reported that they engaged in prolonged standing for an average of 40 minutes per session, 3 to 4 times a week, as a method to improve or maintain their health. The perceived benefits included improvements in several health-related areas such as well-being, circulation, skin integrity, reflex activity, bowel and bladder function, digestion, sleep, pain, and fatigue. The most common reason that prevented the respondents from standing was the cost of equipment to enable standing. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Considering the many reported benefits of standing, this activity may be useful for people with SCI. This study identified a number of body systems and functions that may need to be investigated if clinical trials of prolonged standing in people with SCI are undertaken.

Tilt table standing for reducing spasticity after spinal cord injury.

date: 10/01/1993
author: Bohannon RW
publication: Arch Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. 1993 Oct;74(10):1121-2.
pubmed_ID: 8215868

A patient with a T12 spinal cord injury and intractable extensor spasms of the lower extremities participated in tilt table standing trial on 5 nonconsecutive days to determine if the intervention would affect his spasticity and spasms. Each day’s standing trial was followed by an immediate reduction in lower extremity spasticity (measured using the modified Ashworth scale and pendulum testing). Standing was also accompanied by a reduction in spasms that lasted until the following morning. The reduction of spasms was particularly advantageous to the performance of car transfers. Tilt table standing merits further examination as a physical treatment of spasms that accompany central nervous system lesions.