Eighteen chronic pain patients (CPPs) with postradiculopathy-associated muscle weakness were entered into a nonrandomized functional electrical stimulation (FES) clinical treatment study to determine if FES can improve postradiculopathy associated muscle weakness. Because of the clinical nature of the unit, the CPPs could not be denied treatments other than FES. To control for these other treatments, the CPPs were used as their own controls with two control conditions, ie, where possible, the contralateral probable normal muscle was used as a control (control 1) and; in a subgroup of CPPs (n = 6), FES treatment was initially withheld to the probable weak muscle (control 2). Strength was measured as isometric maximum voluntary contraction (IMVC) and was used as the outcome treatment variable. IMVC was measured in both the probable weak and contralateral probable normal muscles at entrance into the Pain Center, at beginning of FES treatment, at completion of FES treatment, and for the control 2 condition at the end of the non-FES treatment period. Statistical analyses of the IMVC strength results using the two control conditions indicated (1) both the FES-treated and untreated muscles increased significantly in IMVC strength, (2) improvement in IMVC strength for FES-treated muscles was significantly greater than for probable normal FES-untreated muscles and, (3) improvement in IMVC strength in FES-treated muscles was significantly greater during the FES-treatment period than during the non-FES treatment period. FES treatment of postradiculopathy-associated muscle weakness in CPPs seems to increase the strength of the probable weak muscle above the increase in strength provided by other concurrent treatments. This conclusion is limited by limitations in one of the control groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation