Image_2_Impact of Voluntary Muscle Activation on Stretch Reflex Excitability in Individuals With Hemiparetic Stroke.TIFF (890.99 kB)
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Image_2_Impact of Voluntary Muscle Activation on Stretch Reflex Excitability in Individuals With Hemiparetic Stroke.TIFF

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posted on 08.03.2022, 04:19 authored by Jacqueline R. Patterson, Julius P. A. Dewald, Justin M. Drogos, Netta Gurari
Objective

To characterize how, following a stretch-induced attenuation, volitional muscle activation impacts stretch reflex activity in individuals with stroke.

Methods

A robotic device rotated the paretic elbow of individuals with hemiparetic stroke from 70° to 150°, and then back to 70° elbow flexion at an angular speed of 120°/s. This stretching sequence was repeated 20 times. Subsequently, participants volitionally activated their elbow musculature or rested. Finally, the stretching sequence was repeated another 20 times. The flexors' stretch reflex activity was quantified as the net torque measured at 135°.

Results

Data from 15 participants indicated that the stretching sequence attenuated the flexion torque (p < 0.001) and resting sustained the attenuation (p = 1.000). Contrastingly, based on data from 14 participants, voluntary muscle activation increased the flexion torque (p < 0.001) to an initial pre-stretch torque magnitude (p = 1.000).

Conclusions

Stretch reflex attenuation induced by repeated fast stretches may be nullified when individuals post-stroke volitionally activate their muscles. In contrast, resting may enable a sustained reflex attenuation if the individual remains relaxed.

Significance

Stretching is commonly implemented to reduce hyperactive stretch reflexes following a stroke. These findings suggest that stretch reflex accommodation arising from repeated fast stretching may be reversed once an individual volitionally moves their paretic arm.

History

References