How is physical therapy (PT) used to develop motor control in a hemiplegic shoulder?

Updated: Feb 08, 2019
  • Author: Robert Gould, DO; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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As hemiparetic limb movements evolve, they show a combination of hypertonicity and weakness, features typical of an upper motor neuron lesion. The recruitment patterns of individual motor units in these affected muscles are slow and inconsistent. Brandstater has related that the variable degrees of cocontraction of the agonist and antagonist muscle groups cause movements to be slow and clumsy. [60] Because of the importance in coordinating these movements during recovery, multiple approaches have been developed in an attempt to improve functional outcome.

More conventional rehabilitation methods involve reeducating weak muscles by strengthening and stretching. But because these methods have produced marginal results, other techniques that attempt to counter the evolution of normal pathological processes and encourage the use of sensory inputs to facilitate muscle activity have been developed.

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