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Bone loss and muscle atrophy in spinal cord injury: epidemiology, fracture prediction, and rehabilitation strategies.

date: 01/01/2006
author: Giangregorio L, McCartney N.
publication: J Spinal Cord Med. 2006;29(5):489-500.
pubmed_ID: 17274487

Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) often experience bone loss and muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy can result in reduced metabolic rate and increase the risk of metabolic disorders. Sublesional osteoporosis predisposes individuals with SCI to an increased risk of low-trauma fracture. Fractures in people with SCI have been reported during transfers from bed to chair, and while being turned in bed. The bone loss and muscle atrophy that occur after SCI are substantial and may be influenced by factors such as completeness of injury or time post injury. A number of interventions, including standing, electrically stimulated cycling or resistance training, and walking exercises have been explored with the aim of reducing bone loss and/or increasing bone mass and muscle mass in individuals with SCI. Exercise with electrical stimulation appears to increase muscle mass and/or prevent atrophy, but studies investigating its effect on bone are conflicting. Several methodological limitations in exercise studies with individuals with SCI to date limit our ability to confirm the utility of exercise for improving skeletal status. The impact of standing or walking exercises on muscle and bone has not been well established. Future research should carefully consider the study design, skeletal measurement sites, and the measurement techniques used in order to facilitate sound conclusions.

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Nonoperative treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta: orthotic and mobility management.

date: 09/01/1981
author: Bleck EE.
publication: Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1981 Sep;(159):111-22.
pubmed_ID: 7285447

The problem of osteoporosis superimposed on the basic collagen defect of osteogenesis imperfecta has been approached by the use of plastic containment orthoses for the lower limbs, in addition to developmentally staged mobility devices that assist early standing and walking. The purpose of forcing early weight-bearing is to provide stress to the lower limb bones in order to minimize osteoporosis, prevent refracture and deformity, and curb subsequent immobilization osteoporosis, thus breaking a vicious cycle. Management goals are based upon adult needs for independence: efficiency in daily living activities and in mobility. These goals were reached in most of our patients via use of plastic orthoses, early weight-bearing, and electrically powered wheelchairs. Manual osteoclasis of the tibia followed by plastic orthoses utilizing principles of fluid compression to support fractured or structurally weak bones appeared successful at the time of follow-up. Intramedullary rodding of the femur was necessary in most of the 12 children with osteogenesis imperfecta congenita. Supplementary plastic orthoses have reduced the refracture rate in both the tibia and the femur. Social integration of the children was reflected by the fact that among the 12 OI congenita cases, ten were attending regular educational institutions. Twelve OI tarda children fared well, all attaining complete independence in daily living, mobility and ambulation. Seven of this group were treated with intramedullary rodding of the femur or tibia and with plastic orthoses. Five patients required no treatment.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Reliability and comparison of weight-bearing ability during standing tasks for individuals with chronic stroke.

date: 08/01/2002
author: Eng JJ, Chu KS.
publication: Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation. 2002 Aug;83(8):1138-44.
pubmed_ID: 12161837

OBJECTIVES: To determine the test-retest reliability over 2 separate days for weight-bearing ability during standing tasks in individuals with chronic stroke and to compare the weight-bearing ability among 5 standing tasks for the paretic and nonparetic limbs. DESIGN: Prospective study using a convenient sample. SETTING: Free-standing tertiary rehabilitation center. PARTICIPANTS: Fifteen community-dwelling stroke individuals with moderate motor deficits; volunteer sample. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weight-bearing ability as measured by the vertical ground reaction force during 5 standing tasks (rising from a chair, quiet standing, weight-shifting forward, backward, laterally). RESULTS: The weight-bearing ability was less for the paretic limb compared with the nonparetic limb, but the intraclass correlation coefficients were high (.95-.99) for both limbs between the 2 sessions for all 5 tasks. The forward weight-shifting ability was particularly low in magnitude on the paretic side compared with the other weight-shifting tasks. In addition, the forward weight-shift ability of the nonparetic limb was also impaired but to a lesser extent. Large asymmetry was evident when rising from a chair, with the paretic limb bearing a mean 296N and the nonparetic side bearing a mean 458N. The weight-bearing ability during all 5 tasks correlated with one another (r range,.56-.94). CONCLUSIONS: Weight-bearing ability can be reliably measured and may serve as a useful outcome measure in individuals with stroke. We suggest that impairments of the hemiparetic side during forward weight shifting and sit-to-stand tasks presents a challenge to the motor systems of individuals with stroke, which may account for the poor balance that is often observed in these individuals. Copyright 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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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.

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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.

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The vertical wheeler: a device for ambulation in cerebral palsy.

date: 10/01/1985
author: Manley MT, Gurtowski J.
publication: Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation. 1985 Oct;66(10):717-20.
pubmed_ID: 4051716
The vertical wheeler is a new mobility aid that was specifically designed to help improve the quality of life for the handicapped child by providing mobility while standing. Results of a clinical trial in a population of patients with cerebral palsy are presented. Criteria were selected to allow evaluation of the rehabilitative effect of the device on the population. Results showed that the children in this cerebral palsy group all benefited from ambulation with the wheeler. Patients with spastic quadriparesis seemed to gain the most immediate benefit. The device contributed to improved mobility, posture, and self-image. The wheeler was safe and fun for the children. It has the potential for improving the psychologic and medical status of the child with severe locomotion impairment.

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Follow-up assessment of standing mobility device users.

date: 10/01/1998
author: Dunn RB, Walter JS, Lucero Y, Weaver F, Langbein E, Fehr L, Johnson P, Riedy L.
publication: Assistive Technology. 1998;10(2):84-93.
pubmed_ID: 10339284

The use of standing devices by spinal cord-injured subjects was investigated through a national survey of a sample of individuals who returned their manufacturer’s warranty card to two companies. We obtained a 32% response rate (99/310). The majority of respondents were male (87%) with a median age between 41 and 50 years. Seventy-seven percent were paraplegic and 21% were quadriplegic. Forty percent had between 1 and 5 years experience with their device, and 84% of those responding were currently using their standing device. Forty-one percent used their standing device one to six times a week; two-thirds stood between 30 minutes and 1 hour for each use. Less than 10% of subjects experienced any side effects, such as nausea or headaches, from standing. Twenty-one percent of subjects reported being able to empty their bladder more completely. There was also a favorable response by some individuals on the effects of the standing devices on bowel regularity, reduction of urinary tract infections, leg spasticity, and number of bedsores. Finally, 79% of subjects highly recommended use of standing devices to other people with spinal cord injury. The positive responses of individuals using standing devices is a strong recommendation for the assistive technology community to make these devices more available to individuals with spinal cord injury.