Functional electric stimulation in the reversal of conversion disorder paralysis

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1988 Jul;69(7):545-7.


Numerous reports have documented the usefulness of functional electric stimulation (FES) in restoring and/or improving the function of organically diseased or paralyzed muscles. There are few reports related to the use of FES in the treatment of conversion disorder paralysis of the hysterical type. This paper presents a case of hysterically paralyzed muscles where the patient received daily treatment with FES for two weeks. Electric current was applied to a weak quadriceps and to paralyzed tibialis anterior muscles. This electrotherapeutic modality was effective in improving the function of the quadriceps and in reversing the paralysis of the tibialis anterior muscles. The improvement in the muscles' functional abilities was documented through the use of quantitative measures of muscle strength as well as computerized analysis of EMG signals. The results showed that the administration of FES resulted in a dramatic increase in motor units recruitment, increased muscle strength, and improved voluntary muscle control.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conversion Disorder / complications
  • Conversion Disorder / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paralysis / psychology
  • Paralysis / rehabilitation
  • Paralysis / therapy*