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The Effect of Passive Cycling Movements on Spasticity After Spinal Cord Injury: Preliminary Results

TH Kakebeeke, HE Lechner, and PA Knapp

Objective: To investigate the influence of rhythmic passive movements of the legs on the reduction of spasticity after spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: Swiss Paraplegic Centre Nottwil, Switzerland.

Methods: A total of 10 subjects with motor complete SCI were treated with a cycling device for half an hour. Before and after cycling their spasticity was tested with an isokinetic dynamometer. The subjects were tested one week later by exactly the same procedure with a half an hour break instead of the cycling. Subjects were asked about their spasticity before and after the cycling and break.

Results: There was no significant difference in elicited peak torque either before and after the cycling, or before and after the break (MANOVA, Po0.05). Six out of 10 subjects estimated their spasticity as less after the cycling.

Conclusion: With the isokinetic dynamometer, it was not possible to show an effect of passive cycling on spasticity reduction. However, six out of 10 of the subjects estimated their spasticity to be less after cycling. This positive effect might be attributed to a reduced spasticity in the trunk and/or to the attention the subjects perceived during the intervention.

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