Chronic Motor Dysfunction After Stroke: Recovering Wrist and Finger Extension by Electromyography-Triggered Neuromuscular Stimulation

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Background and PurposeAfter stroke, many individuals have chronic unilateral motor dysfunction in the upper extremity that severely limits their functional movement control. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of electromyography-triggered neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the wrist and finger extension muscles in individuals who had a stroke ≥1 year earlier.MethodsEleven individuals volunteered to participate and were randomly assigned to either the electromyography-triggered neuromuscular stimulation experimental group (7 subjects) or the control group (4 subjects). After completing a pretest involving 5 motor capability tests, the poststroke subjects completed 12 treatment sessions (30 minutes each) according to group assignments. Once the control subjects completed 12 sessions attempting wrist and finger extension without any external assistance and were posttested, they were then given 12 sessions of the rehabilitation treatment.ResultsThe Box and Block test and the force-generation task (sustained muscular contraction) revealed significant findings (P <0.05). The experimental group moved significantly more blocks and displayed a higher isometric force impulse after the rehabilitation treatment.ConclusionsTwo lines of evidence clearly support the use of the electromyography-triggered neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatment to rehabilitate wrist and finger extension movements of hemiparetic individuals ≥1 year after stroke. The treatment program decreased motor dysfunction and improved the motor capabilities in this group of poststroke individuals.

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