In a nutshell
This study investigated the long-term effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) in the treatment of stroke survivors. Researchers suggested that ESWT is associated with improved outcomes in these patients.
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is cut-off. Brain cells stop receiving oxygen and begin to die. The abilities controlled by these cells are lost causing symptoms such as spasticity. Spasticity consists in the constant stiffness of muscles. SPA is present in 25% of patients 3 days after stroke. This condition is associated with worse movement, more pain, and limited activity.
The standard treatment for spasticity is physical therapy and or medications. However, these treatments are of limited effectiveness. ESWT has been reported to be a good treatment option for these patients. ESWT uses acoustic waves with high energy peak that interact with tissues such as muscles. This energy promotes the regeneration and reparative processes of tissues. However, limited information exists about symptoms such as pain.
Methods & findings
This study reviewed 8 other studies and included information about 301 patients who had a stroke. ESWT rehabilitation was compared to no therapy (control group) in these studies.
At long-term follow-up ESWT significantly reduced spasticity scores. It also improved other factors such as range of movement, balance, sensory and motor function, and pain.
The bottom line
This study concluded that ESWT is a good and safe option to treat spasticity and pain in stroke survivors.
The fine print
This study was based on information from medical records. Data may have been missing. Further studies are needed.
Published By :
Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases: the official journal of the National Stroke Association
Dec 31, 2019