Research Reports - Effects of electrical stimulation in people with post-concussion syndromes

Yi-Ning Wu1, Jessica Gravel2,3, Naseem Chatiwala2,3, Terrie Enis1,2,3, Caroline Stark1, Robert C. Cantu2,4*

Scientific Research, Vol.10 No.4, April 2018

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a complex disorder with various symptoms. There is limited evidence to support that any intervention enhances recovery after a concussion. This pilot study aimed to examine the efficacy of neck paraspinal muscles electrical stimulation (ES) in conjunction with physical therapy (PT) on reducing the severity of post concussive symptoms. Twenty-four individuals with PCS were randomly assigned to the ES group (PT + ES) or the control group (PT only). Both groups received the intervention twice a week for eight weeks. Clinical measures including the Concussion Signs/Symptoms Checklist, balance error scoring system, King-Devick test, ImPACT, and the Standardized Assessment of Concussion were used to evaluate the symptoms. We investigated the recovery rate by calculating slopes of changes over time for each participant. A changing slope was derived by linearly fitting the symptoms severity over time with the initial severity score as the intercept. Significant overall improvement was observed in both groups after the interventions. There was no significant difference seen in total symptom recovery rate between two groups (-1.49 ± 1.59 versus -1.2 ± 1.56, p = 0.32). The cognitive symptoms recovery rate of the ES group was faster than the control group (-0.5 ± 0.49 and -0.13 ± 0.46 respectively, p = 0.04). Physical therapy targeting the cervical region is beneficial for persons with PCS. Moreover, peripheral electrical stimulation on the paraspinal muscles surrounding the neck region could potentially advance the cognitive function recovery of persons with PCS.

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