Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder which often results in joint rigidity, bradykinesia and decreased range of motion. Physical activity has been shown to improve range of motion in PD, but as the disease progresses, exercise may become more difficult. Segmental biomechanical muscle stimulation (BMS) has been shown to increase range of motion in healthy young and older adults. However, the acute effects of segmental BMS on range of motion in PD have not been examined.
PURPOSE: To determine if biomechanical muscle stimulation (BMS) using the SwissWing® and active-assisted cycling (AAC) of the legs results in acute changes in range of motion of the shoulder and hip in individuals with Parkinson's disease.
METHODS: Fifteen individuals with mild to moderate PD completed four separate sessions, separated by one week. For the first session, individuals came to the lab 'on' Parkinson's medications and completed baseline assessment. In the second session, subjects were 'off' Parkinson's medications and watched a video describing the BMS and the AAC (control). During the third and fourth visits, patients were 'off' medications and the order of AAC or BMS was counterbalanced. Shoulder (flexion/extension; abduction) and hip ROM (straight legged hip flexion/extension) was measured prior to and immediately after each intervention using a standardized goniometer.
RESULTS: None of the ROM variables changed in the control session. Significant improvements in shoulder flexion (5.3 ± 1.7 degrees, p= 0.010), shoulder extension (3.6 ± 1.5 degrees, P= 0.037), shoulder abduction (6.2 ± 1.9 degrees, p= 0.008) and hip flexion (5.3 ± 1.7 degrees, p= 0.010) were measured immediately after BMS sessions. After sessions of AAC, significant improvements in shoulder flexion (8.9 ± 3.6 degrees, p= 0.029), shoulder abduction (6.1 ± 1.1 degrees, p= 0.000) and hip flexion (6.0 ± 1.6 degrees, p= 0.003) were measured immediately after BMS sessions.
CONCLUSIONS: Single bouts of BMS and AAC can have positive effect on range of motion of the shoulder and hip in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Interestingly, these interventions focused on the lower extremity but improvements were also noted in the upper extremity. This suggests that BMS and AAC may be altering central motor control processes.