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To sit or stand? A preliminary, cross sectional study to investigate if there is a difference in glenohumeral subluxation in sitting or standing in people following stroke

Hatton, NJ and Stockley, RC (2015) To sit or stand? A preliminary, cross sectional study to investigate if there is a difference in glenohumeral subluxation in sitting or standing in people following stroke. Archives of Physiotherapy, 5.

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Abstract

Background: Glenohumeral subluxation (GHS) is a common symptom following stroke. Many therapists postulate that GHS may be reduced if the base of support (BOS) is reduced and the centre of mass (COM) is raised as this requires greater postural muscle activity. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this practice. Objective: The aim of this preliminary study was to investigate if the amount of GHS alters from sitting to standing. Study design: A cross sectional, within-subject design in a convenience sample of 15 stroke patients with GHS was utilised. Methods: A prospective design was used with a single blinded tester who assessed GHS using the calliper method in sitting, standing and on return to sitting. Friedman and post hoc Wilcoxon tests showed that GHS was significantly reduced in standing compared to sitting (p <0.05) but this reduction was not maintained on return to sitting (p = 0.25). Conclusions: The results of this study are limited by its small size. However, these results indicate that reducing BOS during rehabilitation may improve GHS after stroke. Whilst the maintenance of benefit is not established, these findings suggest that reducing BOS as part of treatment may help patients with GHS. Further research is now required to replicate these results in a larger sample and to directly examine shoulder muscle activity to investigate which muscles may influence GHS in response to changing BOS. Future work could also aim to determine whether the reduction in GHS was directly attributable to a reduced BOS or the effort associated with moving from sitting to standing.

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