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, 23 (1), 39-47

Analysis of the Electromiographic Activity of Lower Limb and Motor Function in Hippotherapy Practitioners With Cerebral Palsy

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Analysis of the Electromiographic Activity of Lower Limb and Motor Function in Hippotherapy Practitioners With Cerebral Palsy

Mariane Fernandes Ribeiro et al. J Bodyw Mov Ther.

Abstract

Objective: Investigation of the effects of hippotherapy treatment on lower limb muscle activity and gross motor function in subjects with cerebral palsy (CP), comparing them to a group of subjects with adequate motor development.

Methods: Evaluation was made of seven individuals with spastic diparetic CP, average age 9.3 (±3.3) years (CP group), Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I and II, and eight individuals with adequate motor development, average age 10.9 (±3.2) years (control group). The groups were submitted to 25 sessions of hippotherapy, each lasting 30 min, on a weekly basis, and the muscle activity of the lower limbs was evaluated using surface electromyography during the 1st, 10th, 20th, and 25th sessions. For the CP group, Gross Motor Function Measurement (GMFM-88) was performed before and after hippotherapy treatment.

Results: There was higher muscle activity in the 10th session, compared to the other sessions, with greater activity of the tibialis anterior muscles, for both groups studied. After treatment, the CP group showed significant improvement in the GMFM total score, and in the scores for dimensions D and E.

Conclusion: Hippotherapy sessions improved the muscle responses in both groups, and improved the gross motor function of the subjects with CP.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Gross motor function; Hippotherapy; Muscle activation; Surface electromyography.

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