Therapeutic electrical stimulation for improving function in children with disabilities.


eMediNexus    08 May 2018

The purpose of an article published in the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine discussed the potential clinical applicability, while clarifying the differences in electrical stimulation (ES) treatments and the theory behind potential benefits to remediate functional impairments in the youth. This was a literature review including a total of 37 articles, wherefrom, the evidence for use in pediatric diagnoses was reported. Most studies were completed on children with cerebral palsy (CP). The findings revealed that improvements in various impairments may be possible with the integration of ES. Electrical stimulation may improve muscle mass and strength, spasticity, passive range of motion (PROM), upper extremity function, walking speed, and positioning of the foot and ankle kinematics during walking. It was stated that sitting posture and static or dynamic sitting balance may be improved with ES to trunk musculature. In addition, bone mineral density may be positively affected with the use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) ergometry. Furthermore, ES may also be useful in the management of urinary tract dysfunction and chronic constipation. Meanwhile, among all reviewed studies, reports of direct adverse reactions to electrical stimulation were rare. Hence, it was concluded that, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and FES are safe and well tolerated in children with various disabilities including chronic constipation. It was stated that physiatrists and other healthcare providers should comprehend the indications and parameters in order to utilize these tools effectively in the pediatric population.

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