Past studies have suggested that acupuncture may reduce spasticity in stroke survivors. We do not know, however, whether acupuncture may enhance the effect of strength training on motor function. This study compared upper-limb motor functional improvement in chronic stroke survivors who received a combination of acupuncture and strength training with that of subjects who received strength training alone. A total of 10 chronic stroke patients with moderate or severe wrist muscle spasticity were recruited for this study. The study used a crossover design with a random order of either combined electroacupuncture and strength training or strength training alone. Each subject received one of the two types of treatment twice a week for the first 6 weeks and switched to the other for another 6 weeks. Quantitative measurements of wrist spasticity, active wrist extension range of motion, isometric wrist strength, and clinical evaluation with Fugl-Meyer (FM) upper-limb motor scores were conducted before and after either treatment. After the combined treatment, the quantitative spasticity level, active wrist extension range of motion (increased by a mean of 16.3 degrees), and FM upper-limb motor score (increased by a mean of 4.9 points) changed significantly (p Key words: acupuncture, electroacupuncture, motor function, muscle spasticity, range of motion, rehabilitation, spasticity, strength training, stroke, wrist strength.
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