Effects of a single session of prolonged muscle stretch on spastic muscle of stroke patients.

date: 04/25/2001
author: Tsai KH, Yeh CY, Chang HY, Chen JJ.
publication: Proc Natl Sci Counc Repub China B. 2001 Apr;25(2):76-81.
pubmed_ID: 11370763

The control of spasticity is often a significant problem in the management of patients with spasticity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a single session of prolonged muscle stretch (PMS) on the spastic muscle. Seventeen patients with spastic hemiplegia were selected to receive treatment. Subjects underwent PMS of the triceps surae (TS) by standing with the feet dorsiflexed on a tilt-table for 30 minutes. Our test battery consisted of four measurements including the modified Ashworth scale of the TS, the passive range of motion (ROM) of ankle dorsiflexion, the H/M ratio of the TS, and the F/M ratio of the tibialis anterior (TA). The results indicated that the passive ROM of ankle dorsiflexion increased significantly (p < 0.05) compared to that before PMS treatment. Additionally, PMS reduced motor neuron excitability of the TS and significantly increased that of the TA (p < 0.05). These results suggest that 30 minutes of PMS is effective in reducing motor neuron excitability of the TS in spastic hemiplegia, thus providing a safe and economical method for treating stroke patients.