Riding and music therapy helpful after a stroke

19-08-2017. For many sufferers, a stroke represents a lasting incision that can lead to massive functional failures on a physical and cognitive level. In rehabilitation, functional therapies such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy are used to restore lost skills as much as possible.

Prof. Michael Nilsson and co-workers from the University of Gothenburg have now investigated multimodal therapeutic interventions in a randomized controlled trial. Based on the results, it was possible to demonstrate that music and riding therapy in patients after a stroke in late rehabilitation lead to accelerated subjective recovery and improvements at the functional level.

The study included 123 participants from Sweden - men and women between 50-75 years of age who had had a stroke 10 months to 5 years ago. The first group received music-supported movement training twice a week. The participants performed various movements with their hands and feet over 90 minutes to the music. Clapping, stamping and also complex functional movement patterns like playing drums were practiced. The second group met twice a week for 240 minutes in an equestrian center for the disabled. The patients first took care of the horses before riding in small groups accompanied by two assistants for 30 minutes. A third group did not take any special therapy.

The “Stroke Impact Scale” (SIS) was used as the measuring instrument, a questionnaire in which the patient assessed the effects of the stroke. According to Prof. Nilsson, an improvement in SIS was achieved in 56 percent of the participants after 12 weeks in the riding group. In the music group, 38 percent made progress, which was shown on the motor level in an improvement in balance, the ability to grasp and on the cognitive level in the working memory. The differences from the control group, where 17 percent had recovered, were significant. The progress was confirmed in a follow-up examination after 6 months. Nilsson attributes these results to the combination of multimodal interventions and the associated higher motivation of the participants.

Lina Bunketorp-Käll, Aringsa Lundgren-Nilsson, Hans Samuelsson, Tulen Pekny, Karin Blomvé, Marcela Pekna, Milos Pekny, Christian Blomstrand, Michael Nilsson. (2017)
Long-Term Improvements After Multimodal Rehabilitation in Late Phase After Stroke. https://doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.016433

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