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Aust J Physiother. 2008;54(3):185-9.

Electrical simulation in addition to passive stretch has a small effect on spasticity and contracture in children with cerebral palsy: a randomised within-participant controlled trial.

Author information

1
Faculty of Rehabilitation, Semnan University (Medical Sciences), Semnan, Iran. moh35ir@yahoo.co.UK

Abstract

QUESTION:

Does electrical stimulation in addition to passive stretching reduce spasticity and contracture more than passive stretching alone in children with cerebral palsy?

DESIGN:

Randomised within-participant controlled trial with concealed allocation, assessor blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis.

PARTICIPANTS:

Eleven (one dropout) children with cerebral palsy and bilateral knee flexor spasticity aged 13 years (SD 1).

INTERVENTION:

One leg in each participant received the experimental intervention for four weeks which consisted of 30 min of electrical stimulation of the quadriceps 3 times per week and passive stretching of the hamstrings 5 times per week. The other leg received the control intervention for four weeks which consisted of passive stretching of the hamstrings 5 times per week.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Spasticity of the hamstrings was measured using the modified Ashworth scale. Contracture was measured as maximum passive knee extension using goniometry.

RESULTS:

The mean difference in decrease in the modified Ashworth score due to the addition of electrical stimulation to the stretching regimen was 0.8 points (95% CI 0.1 to 1.5). The mean difference in increase in passive knee extension due to the addition of electrical stimulation to the stretching regimen was 4 degrees (95% CI 0 to 7).

CONCLUSION:

Electrical stimulation combined with passive stretching is marginally more effective than passive stretching alone for spastic limbs of children with cerebral palsy.

PMID:
18721122
DOI:
10.1016/s0004-9514(08)70025-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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