People suffering from a neurological injury or disease such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s have a wide variety of problems with their sensory motor skills. Common physical problems that can impair function in people with neurological injuries or diseases are contractures, muscular weakness, spasticity, reduced sensation, lack of motor control and often reduced balance and coordination.
Physical training to help them cope with the activities of daily living must often continue throughout life. Both patient and therapist need variety and innovation to maintain their enthusiasm and keep sight of their goals.
Exercise using a Vibrosphere® from Laserow Balance in Lund is a new, exciting supplement in the training of patients with neurological diagnoses and whose functional impairments make the use of traditional exercise aids difficult.
Spastic musculature often gives rise to contractures. The effects of vibration can be used to assist flexion and boost the range of motion in foot, hand and finger joints.
The vibrations encourage a greater range of motion in a number of ways: by promoting blood supply and increasing the temperature of muscles and soft tissues, by postcontraction inhibition and reduced sensation of pain.
Vibrations are thought to be able to stimulate muscle spindles and alpha motor neurons, thus initiating a muscular contraction known as a tonic vibration reflex. This reflexive muscular contraction, when combined with a voluntary contraction, is thought to boost synchronisation of motor units. Inhibition through antagonist stimulation can also have relaxing effects on the musculature.
In patients with reduced proprioception, vibration can provide a stronger sensation of the vibrating body parts. This can in turn can boost physical awareness and affect the level of function.
Exercising the abdominal and hip muscles can lead to improved postural function, since involuntary activation of abdominal muscles seems to be facilitated by exercises using the Vibrosphere®. The same applies to exercises on all fours for arm and shoulder muscles. Load is required to train leg strength – the higher the load, the greater the effect.
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