The impact of hippotherapy on the quality of trunk stabilisation, evaluated by EMG biofeedback, in children with infantile cerebral palsy
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Department of Pediatrics, Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
Department of Physical Therapy, Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
Department of Developmental Neurology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
Submission date: 2015-08-02
Acceptance date: 2016-06-21
Online publication date: 2016-08-25
Publication date: 2019-12-15
Corresponding author
Agata Anna Lakomy-Gawryszewska   

Department of Pediatrics, Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University of Gdańsk, Dębinki 7, 80-211 Gdańsk, Poland. Tel.: +48 692928607.
Pol. Ann. Med. 2017;24(1):9-12
Damage to the central nervous system in children with infantile cerebral palsy (ICP) can cause aberrant and uncoordinated muscle contraction resulting in postural instability. Hippotherapy is a method of motor rehabilitation, rooted in neurophysiology, which utilizes the natural motion of a horse's gait to entrain trunk stability in the seated rider.

The aim of this research was to assess the effect of hippotherapy in improving trunk stability in children with spastic ICP.

Material and methods:
The research was conducted on 24 children with ages ranging from 2 to 18 years (average age: 10.63 ± 4.95) who suffer with spastic ICP. Each child underwent physiotherapeutic assessment twice, an initial assessment at the start of the study period and a follow up assessment after 3 months of hippotherapy. All study subjects undertook 2 sessions of hippotherapy each week for a period of 3 months.

Results and discussion:
An increase in the maximum tension of the rectus abdominis muscle was observed in 17 out of 24 participants (81%). Further analysis of response to therapy according to subtype of ICP revealed an improvement in 13 out of 16 children with spastic diparesis and in 3 out of 7 children with tetraparesis. Improved trunk stability was seen in 6 out of the 11 children who were mobile with a wheelchair, and in 11 out of 12 independently mobile children.

This study proves that hippotherapy has a significant impact on improving the trunk stability of children with ICP.

None declared.
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