The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation during weight-bearing exercises on shoulder function and bone mineral density (BMD) in children with obstetric brachial plexus injury (OBPI).
This study was a randomized controlled trial. Forty-two children with OBPI were recruited. Their ages ranged from 3 to 5 years. They were randomly assigned either to control group (received a selected program) or study group (received the same program as the control group and neuromuscular electrical stimulation during weight bearing). Mallet grading system and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were used to evaluate shoulder function and BMD respectively at entry and after intervention (3 months later).
No significant differences of the outcome measures were detected at entry. Significant differences were observed within both groups when the pre and post treatment scores within each group were compared. Finally, significant differences favoring the study group were recorded when their post treatment scores were compared.
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation during weight bearing exercises is an effective and simple method to improve shoulder function and BMD in children with OBPI.
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Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) Identify deficits associated with obstetric brachial plexus injury (OBPI) in children; (2) Describe treatment options for improving shoulder function and bone mineral density (BMD) in children with OBPI; and (3) Describe the benefits of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in the treatment of children with OBPI.
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