TENS and tPCS combo Improves lower limb spasticity in spastic cerebral palsy: Study
According to recent research, it has been found out that combination of transcranial pulsed current stimulation (tPCS) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can significantly improve lower limb spasticity in spastic cerebral palsy (SCP) children, as published in the BMC Pediatrics.
In the current study, the authors, Zhenhuan Liu and colleagues from the Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation, Nanhai Maternity and Children's Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Foshan, Guangdong Province, China applied a combination of non-invasive neuromodulation modalities concurrently with multiple stimulating electrodes.
Specifically, they used transcranial pulsed current stimulation (tPCS) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a novel strategy for improving lower limb spasticity in children with spastic cerebral palsy (SCP) categorized on levels III–V of the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) with minimal side effects.
Sixty-three SCP children aged 2–12 years, who were classified on levels III–V of the GMFCS were randomly assigned to one of two groups, resulting in 32 children in the experimental group and 31 children in the control group.
The experimental group underwent a combination therapy of tPCS (400 Hz, 1 mA cerebello-cerebral stimulation) and TENS (400 Hz, max 10 mA) for 30 min, followed by 30 min of physiotherapy five times per week for 12 weeks.
The control group underwent physiotherapy only 30 mins per day five times per week for 12 weeks. In total, all groups underwent 60 treatment sessions. The primary outcome measures were the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) and Modified Tardieu Scale (MTS). Evaluations were performed 3 days before and after treatment.
The key findings derived were-
- There was a significant improvement in MAS and MTS scores of the lower limbs in the experimental group compared to the control group in the hip adductors (Left: p = 0.002; Right: p = 0.002), hamstrings (Left: p = 0.001; Right: p < 0.001, and gastrocnemius (Left: p = 0.001; Right: p = 0.000).
- Moreover, MTS scores of R1, R2 and R2-R1 in left and right hip adduction, knee joint, and ankle joint all showed significant improvements (p ≤ 0.05).
- Analysis of MAS and MTS scores compared to baseline scores showed significant improvements in the experimental group but declines in the control group.
Therefore, it was concluded that "a combination of tPCS and TENS can significantly improve lower limb spasticity in SCP children classified on GMFCS levels III–V with minimal side effects, presenting a novel strategy for addressing spasticity challenges in children with severe SCP."