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Short- and Mid-Term Improvement of Postural Balance after a Neurorehabilitation Program via Hippotherapy in Patients with Sensorimotor Impairment after Cerebral Palsy: A Preliminary Kinetic Approach

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Institut Equiphoria, Combo Besso—Rouges Parets, 48500 La Canourgue, France
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Racewood Ltd., 15A Park Road, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 0AN, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(10), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9100261
Received: 24 July 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 28 September 2019 / Published: 29 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neuroscience)
There is still a lack of studies focused on trunk neurorehabilitation. Accordingly, it is unclear which therapeutic modalities are the most effective in improving static/dynamic balance after brain damage. We designed a pilot study on hippotherapy to assess its short- and mid-term effect on dynamic postural balance in patients with moderate-to-severe sensorimotor impairment secondary to cerebral palsy. Five patients aged 15.4 ± 6.1 years old were recruited. All of them had moderate-to-severe alterations of the muscle tone with associated postural balance impairment. Standing and walking were also impaired. Ten minutes horse riding simulator followed by twenty minutes hippotherapy session were conducted during five session days separated by one week each. We analyzed the displacement of the Center of Pressure (COP) on the sitting surface of the simulator’s saddle by means of a customized pressure pad. We measured the general behavior of the COP displacement as well as the postural adjustments when pace changed from walk to trot to walk during the sessions and among sessions. Statistical analysis revealed an improved postural control both by the end of the session and from session 1 to session 5. These results suggest that hippotherapy might support regularization of postural control in a long-term neurorehabilitation context. View Full-Text
Keywords: postural balance; cerebral palsy; neural plasticity; neurorehabilitation; hippotherapy; horse riding simulator postural balance; cerebral palsy; neural plasticity; neurorehabilitation; hippotherapy; horse riding simulator
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Viruega, H.; Gaillard, I.; Carr, J.; Greenwood, B.; Gaviria, M. Short- and Mid-Term Improvement of Postural Balance after a Neurorehabilitation Program via Hippotherapy in Patients with Sensorimotor Impairment after Cerebral Palsy: A Preliminary Kinetic Approach. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 261.

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