Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 7, 2010
   Pages 617 — 628

Abstract —  Influence of gravity compensation on kinematics and muscle activation patterns during reach and retrieval in subjects with cervical spinal cord injury: An explorative study

Marieke G . M. Kloosterman, PT, MSc;1-2* Govert J. Snoek, MD, PhD;2-3 Mirjam Kouwenhoven, MD;2-3 Anand V. Nene, MD, PhD;2-3 Michiel J. A. Jannink, PhD2,4

1Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; 2Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, the Netherlands; 3Roessingh Rehabilitation Center, Enschede, the Netherlands; 4Laboratory of Biomechanical Engineering, University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology, Enschede, the Netherlands

Abstract — Many interventions in upper-limb rehabilitation after cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) use arm support (gravity compensation); however, its specific effects on kinematics and muscle activation characteristics in subjects with a CSCI are largely unknown. We conducted a cross-sectional explorative study to study these effects. Nine subjects with a CSCI performed two goal-directed arm movements (maximal reach, reach and retrieval) with and without gravity compensation. Angles at elbow and shoulder joints and muscle activation were measured and compared. Seven subjects reduced elbow extension (range 1.8°-4.5°) during the maximal reaching task with gravity compensation. In the reach and retrieval task with gravity compensation, all subjects decreased elbow extension (range 0.1°-11.0°). Eight subjects executed movement closer to the body. Regarding muscle activation, gravity compensation did not influence timing; however, the amplitude of activation decreased, especially in antigravity muscles, namely mean change +/- standard deviation of descending part of trapezius (18.2% +/- 37.5%), anterior part of deltoid (37.7% +/- 16.7%), posterior part of deltoid (32.0% +/- 13.9%), and long head biceps (49.6% +/- 20.0%). Clinical implications for the use of gravity compensation in rehabilitation (during activities of daily living or exercise therapy) should be further investigated with a larger population.

Key words: electromyography, goal-directed movements, gravity compensation, kinematics, rehabilitation, robot-assisted therapy, robotics, spinal cord injury, tetraplegia, upper limb.


This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:

Kloosterman MGM, Snoek GJ, Kouwenhoven M, Nene AV, Jannink MJA.
Influence of gravity compensation on kinematics and muscle activation patterns during reach and retrieval in subjects with cervical spinal cord injury: An explorative study.
J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(7): 617-28.
DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2010.02.0014


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