Electromyographic Biofeedback in the Treatment of the Hemiplegic Hand: A Placebo-Controlled Study

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the efficacy of electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback treatment in the functional recovery of the hemiplegic hand.

Design

A total of 27 patients were randomly assigned to EMG biofeedback or placebo EMG biofeedback groups. Both treatments were applied five times a week for a period of 20 days. In addition, the patients in both groups received an exercise program according to the Brunnstrom’s neurophysiologic approach. Goniometric measurements for wrist extension, scale for judging the performance of drinking from a glass, Brunnstrom’s stages of recovery for hand, and surface EMG potentials were used for the clinical assessments. All patients were assessed before treatment and after 20 treatment sessions.

Results

The results showed that there were statistically significant improvements in all variables in both groups, but the improvements in active range of motion and surface EMG potentials were significantly greater in the EMG biofeedback group at the end of the treatment.

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates the potential benefits of EMG biofeedback in conjunction with neurophysiologic rehabilitation technique to maximize the hand function in hemiplegic patients.

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