Walking with a powered robotic exoskeleton: Subjective experience, spasticity and pain in spinal cord injured persons.
The aim of this study was to investigate the acceptability of over ground robot-assisted walking and its effect on pain and spasticity. Twenty-one individuals with SCI participated in a walking session assisted by an Ekso GT powered robotic exoskeleton. Before and after the walking experience, both pain and spasticity were evaluated. Pain was assessed using a 0-10 Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and muscle spasticity was assessed as subjective perception using the NRS scale as well as an objective assessment using both the Modified Ashworth Scale and the Penn Spasm Frequency Scale. Positive and negative sensations were investigated using a questionnaire. The patient’s global impression of change scale was administrated as well. The post-walking assessment demonstrated a significant decrease in muscle spasticity and pain intensity. Subjective questionnaires provided to participants indicated a good acceptability of the robot-assisted walking as seen in a global change after the walking session, high scores on the positive sensations, and low scores on the negative sensations. The authors concluded that over ground robot-assisted walking is well accepted by SCI persons and has positive effects in terms of spasticity and pain reduction.
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