Assisted movement with proprioceptive stimulation reduces impairment and restores function in incomplete spinal cord injury

Deborah Backus, Paul Cordo, Amanda Gillott, Casey Kandilakis, Motomi Mori, Ahmed M. Raslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective To test whether treatment with assisted movement with enhanced sensation (AMES) using vibration to the antagonist muscle would reduce impairments and restore upper limb function in people with incomplete tetraplegia. Design Prospective, pre-post study. Setting Laboratory and rehabilitation hospital. Participants We recruited 15 arms from 10 individuals (8 men; mean age, 40.5y; mean years postspinal cord injury [SCI], 3) with chronic, incomplete tetraplegia. Intervention Two or three 20-minute sessions per week over 9 to 13 weeks (25 sessions total) on the AMES device, which combines repeated movement with targeted vibration to the antagonist muscle. Main Outcome Measures Strength and active motion tests on the AMES device; International Standards for the Neurological Classification of SCI (ISNCSCI) motor and sensory examinations; Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS); grasp and release test (GRT); Van Lieshout Test (VLT); and Capabilities of Upper Extremity questionnaire (CUE). Results The AMES strength test scores improved significantly in metacarpophalangeal flexion (P=.024) and extension (P=.007) and wrist flexion (P=.001) and extension (P<.000). The AMES active motion scores improved in the hand (P=.001) and wrist (P=.001). The MAS and ISNCSCI scores remained unchanged, whereas the GRT scores increased (P=.025). Post hoc analysis showed a trend from pre- to posttreatment (P=.068) and a significant change from pretreatment to 3-month follow-up (P=.046). There was no significant change in the VLT (P=.951) or the CUE (P=.164). Five of the 10 participants reported a return of sensation to the digits after the first, second, or third treatment session. Conclusions People with chronic, incomplete tetraplegia may experience improvements in impairments and function after treatment on a device combining assisted movement and proprioceptive stimulation. Further investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1453
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Feedback, sensory
  • Proprioceptive feedback
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Assisted movement with proprioceptive stimulation reduces impairment and restores function in incomplete spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this