Muscle strengthening is not effective in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: a systematic review.

Scianni A, Butler JM, Ada L, Teixeira-Salmela LF

This study set out to answer the questions: Do strengthening interventions increase strength without increasing spasticity and improve activity, and is there any carryover after cessation in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy? The review looked at strengthening interventions that involved repetitive, strong, or effortful muscle contractions and progressed as ability changed, such as biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and progressive resistance exercise in children with spastic cerebral palsy between school age and 20 years. Six studies were identified and five had data that could be included in a metaanalysis. Strengthening interventions had no effect on strength, no effect on walking speed, and had a small statistically-significant but not clinically-worthwhile effect on Gross Motor Function Measure. Only one study measured spasticity but did not report the between-group analysis.

In children and adolescents with cerebral palsy who are walking, the current evidence suggests that strengthening interventions are neither effective nor worthwhile.

Aust J Physiother. 55(2), 81-87

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