Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3751-2750

Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Jianhua Wu

Second Advisor

Yu-Ping Chen

Third Advisor

Feng Yang

Fourth Advisor

Leslie Brandon

Abstract

Single bouts of whole-body vibration (WBV) have been shown to reduce spasticity and increase active range of motion (ROM) in adults and children with cerebral palsy (CP). The effects, while transient, may provide a time window for participating in another intervention. Treadmill training is a common intervention that allows for the massed practice of walking in a controlled environment. I hypothesized that the use of WBV as a preparatory tool prior to treadmill walking may represent a more effective paradigm than using treadmill walking in isolation. This study aimed to investigate the acute effects of the addition of WBV to treadmill walking on muscle spasticity and overground walking of ambulatory children with CP. Nine children (3M/6F) with CP aged 6-17 years, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-III participated in this study. Subjects’ lower extremity spasticity and overground walking were evaluated before and after two interventions: 10 minutes of treadmill walking alone, and 12 minutes of WBV (20Hz, 2mm) followed by 10 minutes of treadmill walking.

Some subjects showed improvements after the combined intervention. However, several subjects also demonstrated improvements following the treadmill walking alone. Changes in lower extremity spasticity and overground walking parameters demonstrated high inter-subject variability. Interestingly, the inter-subject variability of response was not correlated with age, motor ability, or baseline spasticity. It was concluded that WBV may be a promising modality to reduce spasticity and improve motor function in children with CP. However, future studies are warranted to further investigate potential factors associated with the variability of response to the modality of WBV and treadmill walking more thoroughly.

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