Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neuromodulatory technique that delivers low-intensity direct current to cortical areas, thereby facilitating or inhibiting spontaneous neuronal activity. This study was designed to investigate changes in various sensory functions after tDCS. We conducted a single-center, single-blinded, randomized trial to determine the effect of a single session of tDCS with the current perception threshold (CPT) in 50 healthy volunteers. Nerve conduction studies were performed in relation to the median sensory and motor nerves on the dominant hand to discriminate peripheral nerve lesions. The subjects received anodal tDCS with 1 mA for 15 minutes under two different conditions, with 25 subjects in each groups: the conditions were as follows tDCS on the primary motor cortex (M1) and sham tDCS on M1. We recorded the parameters of the CPT a with Neurometer(R) at frequencies of 2000, 250, and 5 Hz in the dominant index finger to assess the tactile sense, fast pain and slow pain, respectively. In the test to measure CPT values of the M1 in the tDCS group, the values of the distal part of the distal interphalangeal joint of the second finger statistically increased in all of 2000 Hz (p=.000), 250 Hz (p=.002), and 5 Hz (p=.008). However, the values of the sham tDCS group decreased in all of 2000 Hz (p=.285), 250 Hz (p=.552), and 5 Hz (p=.062), and were not statistically significant. These results show that M1 anodal tDCS can modulate sensory perception and pain thresholds in healthy adult volunteers. The study suggests that tDCS may be a useful strategy for treating central neurogenic pain in rehabilitation medicine.
Violinists tend to position the neck asymmetrically to hold the violin between the chin and the left shoulder. Asymmetrical neck posture may induce unilateral neck pain. Previous studies have suggested that individuals with unilateral neck pain exhibit reduced muscle strength of the lower trapezius, but no study has investigated violinists with unilateral neck pain. To this end, we recruited 18 violinists with unilateral neck pain for the present study in which the side on which neck pain was experienced, pain duration, and intensity were recorded. Lower trapezius strength was measured bilaterally in each subject using a handheld dynamometer. Significant differences in lower trapezius strength were evident between the ipsilateral and contralateral sides of neck pain (p＜.05). No significant association between neck pain intensity or duration, and the extent of a deficit in lower trapezius strength, was evident (both p＞;.05). The association between the sides of weakened lower trapezius strength and neck pain was significant (p＜.05). In conclusion, violinists with unilateral neck pain exhibited significantly less lower trapezius strength on the ipsilateral compared to the contralateral side of the pain. Unilateral neck pain more frequently involved the left side of the neck, which is used to stabilize the violin during playing. Thus, our study suggests that a possible relationship exists between muscle weakness in the lower trapezius and neck pain.
The purpose of this study was to determine the muscle activities of the erector spinae (ES), gluteus maximus (Gmax), gluteus medius (Gmed), and the hamstring (HAM) and the ratios of Gmax/ES, Gmax/HAM, and Gmed/HAM during the prone heel squeeze (PHS) with different knee flexion angles (45˚, 90˚, and 135˚). Fifteen young and healthy subjects (8 men, 7 women) were recruited for the study. Surface electromyography signals were collected on ES, Gmax, Gmed, and HAM during PHS. A separate one-way analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to determine the significance of the muscle activities of ES, Gmax, Gmed, and HAM and the ratios of Gmax/ES, Gmax/HAM, and Gmed/HAM with different knee flexion angles during PHS. There was a significant increase in the Gmax activity at the knee flexion of 90˚ in comparison with that of the 45˚ (p=.016). There were significant increases in the Gmed activity at the knee flexion of 90˚ (p=.008) and 135˚ (p=.006) in comparison with that of the 45˚. There were significant decreases in the HAM activity at the knee flexion of 90˚ (p=.009) and 135˚ (p=.004) in comparison with that of the 45˚. There were significant increases in the Gmax/HAM muscle activity ratio at the knee flexion of 90˚ (p=.007) and 135˚ (p=.012) in comparison with that of the 45˚. There were significant increase in the Gmed/HAM muscle activity ratio at the knee flexion of 135˚ in comparison with that of the 45˚ (p=.008). The knee flexion of 90˚ during PHS can induce decreasing activity of HAM and increasing activity of Gmax, and the knee flexion of 135˚ during PHS can induce decreasing activity of HAM and increasing activity of Gmed. Hence, PHS with different knee flexion positions could be considered for the different target muscle.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of walking on a treadmill while using dynamic functional electrical stimulation (Dynamic FES) on functional ability and gait in chronic stroke patients. This was a prospective, randomized controlled study. Twelve patients with chronic stroke (＞;24 months) who were under grade 3 in dorsiflexor strength with manual muscle test were included and randomized into intervention (Dynamic FES) (n1=7) and control (FES) (n2=5). Both the Dynamic FES group and FES group were given a neuromuscular development treatment. The Dynamic FES group has implemented a total of 60 minutes of exercise treatment and gait training with Dynamic FES application. The FES group, with the addition of applying FES while sitting, has also implemented a total of 90 minutes of gait training on treadmill after the exercise treatment. Both two groups accomplished the program, twice a week, for a total of 24 times in a 12-week period. Exercise treatment, gait training on treadmill, and both Dynamic FES and FES were implemented for 30 minutes each. Korean version activities-specific balance confidence scale (K-ABC) was measured to determine self-efficacy in balance function. Timed up and go (TUG) test was performed to evaluate the physical performance. K-ABC, TUG, Berg balance scale (BBS), modified physical performance test (mPPT) and G-walk were evaluated at baseline and at 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, statistically significant differences (p＜.05) were apparent in the Dynamic FES group in the changes in K-ABC and BBS. mPPT, TUG, gait speed, stride length and stance phase duration (%) were compared with the FES group. K-ABC had higher correlation to BBS, along with mPPT to TUG. Our results suggest that walking with Dynamic FES in chronic stroke patients may be beneficial for improving their balance confidence, functional ability and gait.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of three cognitive tasks on gait at a preferred walking speed, and at a fast speed, using dual-task methodology. A total of 29 stroke patients participated in the study. All 29 subjects performed 2 motor tasks (10-meter walk task and timed up and go task each at a preferred and a fast speed) and three cognitive tasks [Stroop, word list generation (WLG), serial subtraction (SS)] under dual-task conditions [cognitive-motor interference (CMI)] in a randomized order. Gait speeds were measured in six different conditions. A repeated-measure analysis of variance was employed to compare the results of the Stroop training, WLG, and SS tasks during preferred and fast walking. A Bonferroni adjustment use for post hoc analysis. The level of statistical significance was set at α=.05. A CMI effect occurred for performance of a 10-meter walking task at two different speed and a cognitive task (p＜.05). Stroop had a significantly greater effect than SS and WLG (p＜.05). The timed up and go task was affected when performed with fast walking speed during Stroop cognitive task (p＜.05), but was not affected if performed with preferred walking speed during a cognitive task (p＞;.05). This study showed that CMI of Stroop can be used as a rehabilitation program for stroke patients.
Differential item functioning (DIF) based on Rasch model can be used to examine whether the items function similarly across different groups and identify items that appear to be too easy or difficult after controlling for the ability levels of the compared groups. The Oswestry low back pain disability (Oswestry) has traditionally been proved as an effective instrument measuring disability resulting from low back pain (LBP). In this study, DIF method was used to explore whether items on the Oswestry perform similarly across two different groups (participants with LBP and no LBP). A series of Rasch analyses on the 10 items of the Oswestry were performed using Winsteps(R) software. Forty-two participants with back pain were recruited from 3 rehabilitation hospitals in Gainesville, Florida. Another 42 participants with no LBP were recruited from several public places in the rehabilitation hospitals. Based on the DIF analysis across the two groups, several items were found to have an uniform DIF. Participants with no LBP had more difficulty on lifting and personal care items and participants with LBP had more difficulty on sleeping and social life items. For non-LBP group, a high ceiling effects (83% of participants with non-LBP) was detected, which was not be able to be effectively measured with the Oswestry items. Although 4 items of the Oswestry function differently across the two groups, all items of the Oswestry were well targeted the LBP group.
Excessive lumbar flexion during sit-to-stand (STS) is a risk factor for lower back pain. Postural taping can prevent unwanted flexion of the lumbar spine. This study aimed to demonstrate the effect of taping the lower back on the lumbopelvic region and hip joint kinematics during STS. Sixteen healthy subjects participated. All subjects performed the STS with and without taping of the lower back. A three-dimensional motion analysis system was used to measure the kinematics of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joint during STS. The angle of the peak lumbar flexion, pelvic anterior tilting, and hip flexion and angular displacement of the lumbar spine between starting position and maximal lumbar flexion were collected. Paired t-tests, or Wilcoxon's rank-sum test for non-parametric distribution, were used to assess differences in the measurements with and without taping. A p-value ＜.05 was taken to indicate a significant difference. Significant differences were observed in the angle of the peak lumbar flexion, pelvic anterior tilting, hip flexion and angular displacement of the lumbar spine (p＜.05). Taping was associated with a significant decrease in the angle of peak lumbar flexion and angular displacement of the lumbar spine between the starting position and maximal lumbar spine flexion. In addition, the peak angle of pelvic anterior tilting and hip flexion were significantly increased with taping. The findings of this study suggest that taping the lower back can decrease excessive lumbar flexion, and increase the pelvic anterior tilting and hip flexion motion during STS.
For maintaining adequate psychometric properties when reducing the number of items from an instrument, item level psychometrics is crucial. Strategies such as low item correlation or factor loadings, using classical test theory, have traditionally been advocated. The purpose of this study is to describe the development of a new short form assessing the impact of low back pain on physical activity. Rasch measurement model has been applied to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Activity Measure (ICF-AM). One hundred and one individuals with low back pain aged 19-89 years (mean age: 48.1±17.3) who live in the community were participated in the study. Twenty-seven items of lifting/carrying construct of the ICF-AM were analyzed. Ten items were selected from the construct to create a short form. Item elimination criteria include: 1) high or low mean square (out of the range: .6-1.4 for the fit statistics), 2) similar item calibrations to adjacent items, 3) person separation value, and item-person map for potential gap in person ability continuum. All 10 items of the short form fit to the Rasch model except one item (i.e., carrying toddler on back). Despite its high infit and outfit statistics (1.90/2.17), the item had to be reinstated due to potential gaps at the upper extreme of person ability level. The short form had a slightly better spread of person ability continuum compared to the entire set of item. The created short form separated individuals with low back pain into nearly 4 groups, while the entire set of items separated the individuals into 6 groups. The findings prompted multidimensional models for better explanation of the lifting/carrying domain. The item level psychometrics based on the Rasch model can be useful in developing short forms with rationally retained items.