Biomechanical muscle stimulation and active-assisted cycling improves active range of motion in individuals with Parkinson's disease

NeuroRehabilitation. 2013;33(2):313-22. doi: 10.3233/NRE-130961.


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological disorder which often results in joint rigidity, bradykinesia and decreased range of motion (ROM). Segmental biomechanical muscle stimulation (BMS) can increase ROM in healthy young adults. However, acute effects on ROM in PD have not been examined.

Objective: To examine whether BMS and active-assisted cycling (AAC) of the legs results in acute changes in ROM in PD.

Methods: Seventeen individuals with PD completed four sessions. Subjects first came to the lab 'on' PD medications and completed baseline assessments. During session 2, subjects were 'off' PD medications and watched a video describing the interventions. In the 3rd and 4th visits, subjects were 'off' medications and the order of AAC or BMS was counterbalanced. Shoulder and hip ROM was measured prior to and immediately after each intervention and hip kinematics were examined during over-ground walking.

Results: There was a significant improvement in hip and shoulder ROM after BMS and AAC. Hip velocity during over-ground walking improved after BMS but not after AAC.

Conclusions: Single bouts of BMS and AAC have a positive effect on ROM and hip velocity during over-ground walking. This suggests that BMS and AAC may be altering central motor control processes.

Keywords: Segmental vibration; exercise; flexibility; range of motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Treatment Outcome