Objective: To evaluate clinical and neurophysiologic effects of 3-month reflex inhibitory splinting (RIS) for poststroke upper-limb spasticity. Design: Pretest-posttest trial. Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation center. Participants: Forty consecutive patients with hemiplegia and upper-limb spasticity after stroke that had occurred at least 4 months before. Intervention: Patients wore an immobilizing hand splint custom-fitted in the functional position for at least 90 minutes daily for 3 months. Main Outcomes Measures: Patients underwent measurement of (1) spasticity at the elbow and wrist according to Modified Ashworth Scale; (2) passive range of motion (PROM) at the wrist and elbow; (3) pain at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist using a visual analog scale; (4) spasms; and (5) comfort and time of splint application. The instrumental measure of spasticity was the ratio between the maximum amplitude of the H-reflex and the maximum amplitude of the M response (Hmax/Mmax ratio). Results: A significant improvement of wrist PROM (F=8.92, P=.001) with greater changes in extension than in flexion, and a reduction of elbow spasticity (F=5.39, P=.002), wrist pain (F=2.89, P=.04), and spasms (F=4.33, P=.008) were observed. The flexor carpi radialis Hmax/Mmax ratio decreased significantly (F=4.2, P=.007). RIS was well tolerated. Conclusions: RIS may be used as an integrative treatment of poststroke upper-limb spasticity. It can be used comfortably at home, in selected patients without functional hand movements, and in cases of poor response or tolerance to antispastic drugs.
- Muscle spasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas