PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of neck stabilization exercise combined with trunk stabilization exercise on balance and gait function in patients with chronic stroke.
METHODS: Twenty-two chronic stroke patients were included in this study. The experimental group subjects (n = 11) performed neck stabilization (15 min) and trunk stabilization (15 min) exercises, while the control group subjects (n = 11) performed trunk stabilization exercise only for 30 min. Before and after the intervention, the subjects underwent static balance and gait testing.
RESULTS: The 95% confidence ellipse area, center of pressure (COP) path length, and COP average velocity were significantly lower in both groups after the intervention compared to before intervention (p < .05). The average stance force on the affected side increased significantly in both groups after the intervention (p < .05). The changes in the static balance variables were larger in the experimental group than in the control group. The cadence, gait velocity, and single leg support increased significantly in both groups after intervention (p < .05). The changes in the gait variables were larger in the experimental group than in the control group.
CONCLUSION: Trunk stabilization is a beneficial intervention, but the combination of neck stabilization with trunk stabilization is a more effective method to increase the gait and static balance in chronic stroke patients.