Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of various treatments (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and Brunnstrom movement therapy) on upper extremity proprioceptive sense and spasticity.
Methods: Twenty-one stroke patients were included in the study. The treatment group (Group 1; n=10) was administered navigated real repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and the control group (Group 2; n=11) was administered sham rTMS by the first researcher. The patients in both groups had upper extremity exercises according to Brunnstrom movement therapy (BMT). The patients were assessed using the Brunnstrom recovery stages (BRS), proprioceptive sense assessment, and the modified Ashworth scale (MAS).
Results: Between the treatment group and control group patients, there were no significant statistical differences obtained from pre-treatment and postreatment tenth day, first month, and third month by BRS wrist, hand, and upper extremity stages. The intragroup comparison of the treatment group patients revealed a statistically significant difference between the pre-treatment and post-treatment third month BRS-hand and BRS-upper extremity stages.The pretreatment and postreatment tenth day and first month evaluations of the wrist proprioceptive sense of the groups presented a significant difference. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of MAS scores before and after treatment evaluations.
Conclusion: The rTMS and BMT approaches that were implemented in the study affected the proprioceptive sense of the wrist after the treatment and in the early period but did not change spasticity.
Keywords: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, stroke, Brunnstrom recovery stages, proprioceptive sense, spasticity
Proprioceptive sense is the individual’s ability to perceive the position and the motion of his/her body segments in the space via somatosensorial impulses sent by the receptors in the skin, muscles, and joints (1). Researchers have stated that the proprioceptive sense, which is the awareness sense of the body, consists of three fundamental senses: kinesthesia, joint position sense, and neuromuscular control (2). The proprioceptive sense plays a crucial role in carrying out and controlling daily activities, maintaining posture and balance, joint stability, and motor learning (3, 4). Neuromuscular control is affected by proprioceptive inefficiencies apart from motor dysfunctions. It has been shown that proprioceptive knowledge is of extreme importance for the neural control of motion and that the upper extremity proprioceptive sense is commonly decreased or evanished following stroke (5). It has been explained that the proprioceptive deficit incidence rate is 50-65% in stroke patients, which affects daily activities and quality of life negatively (6, 7). It has been stated that proprioceptive and motor deficits have different recovery rates in the first six months following stroke (8). In stroke patients, sensorimotor learning calls for a sound somatosensorial impulse, which is possible through sensorimotor rehabilitation (9). The Bobath, Brunnstrom, Johnstone, and Rood proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques and the motor learning method, commonly utilized by physiotherapists, are based upon treating sensorimotor functions (10). There exist several recent studies that report that the pain-free, non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) application decreases spasticity or that it has no effect (11-13). Stroke rehabilitation is provided by decreasing the transcallosal inhibition from the unaffected motor cortex to the affected motor cortex via 1 Hz rTMS applied on the motor cortex (14, 15). Whereas there is a limited number of studies in the literature with various results on the effects of rTMS and physiotherapy combination on spasticity, a study dealing with the effect of rTMS and physiotherapy combination on proprioceptive sense has not been found. This study was planned to investigate the effect of rTMS and Brunnstrom movement therapy (BMT) on upper extremity proprioceptive sense and spasticity (11, 12).