Better physical rehabilitation through dance

People of various ages and levels of motor proficiency use dance as a way to express movement in response to music. Professional dancers put a lot of effort and imagination into honing their abilities and exploring various dance genres. Dancers’ graceful, occasionally unexpected movements can be delightful, and the synchronicity of their coordinated movements can be mesmerising.

Lena, a neurologist and biomechanist, and Madeleine, a rehabilitation scientist and dancer, find it both exciting and challenging to comprehend the intricate motor skill involved in a ballet move or the physical language of coordination used in partner dancing.

There are significant applications in the actual world for understanding dance movements. In our research, we examine how holding hands—as in partner dancing, for example—can genuinely improve people’s balance and gait in various populations. The long-term objective is to create robots that can physically engage with people to assist with both motor assistance and motor learning, as well as to better plan and prescribe rehabilitation to those with limited mobility.
Walking and balance are affected by ballet training.

In ordinary life, it’s simple enough to tell a dancer from a football player by the way they walk: one flows like a liquid, the other is grounded and solid. That is consistent with our observation that dance instruction affects a person’s gait. However, it also goes against the idea in sports training that a motor ability is particular to the exercised movement, like hitting a bat or executing a cartwheel.

On the other hand, the concept of motor skill generalisation across many tasks is the foundation of rehabilitation. It would be impossible to prepare for every event that a person with a mobility limitation would face in the actual world. Therapists anticipate that by assisting patients in gaining strength and proficiency in a few exercises in the gym, gains in the real world would follow.

We didn’t specifically examine ballet dancing in a study directed by Andrew Sawers, who is currently an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Instead, we used the dancers’ extensive, years-long training to see if learning to move in a specific setting alters how we carry out daily tasks. We were interested in whether ballet dancers truly performed tasks differently from you and I than we do.
It showed out that ballet dancers continued to use their preferred, habituated patterns of muscle coordination when moving across a difficult, narrow beam as they did when doing so on a regular, level floor. The neurological system employs these patterns, known as “motor modules,” to create motions, similar to the idea of “muscle memory.” We recorded the electrical activity from numerous muscles in the leg and trunk as participants walked across beams of various difficulty in order to identify each participant’s motor modules.

Non-dancers who had trouble navigating the beam couldn’t rely on the same motor modules they used for regular walking, in contrast to the ballet dancers. Why? According to our research, dancers who trained in ballet for a long time developed a set of motor modules that are used for walking and made them more versatile so they could be employed in more difficult related tasks. This modified how dancers move in everyday situations.

Utilizing dance instruction in therapeutic settings

In rehabilitation and motor skill reacquisition for people with mobility impairments, the same mechanisms of motor skill acquisition in highly trained individuals—like ballet dancers—might also be at work.

Dancing is a powerful form of rehabilitation for those with balance and gait issues, especially those who have Parkinson’s disease (PD). Madeleine created Adapted Tango rehabilitation, in which participants learn a progressive series of tango dance moves especially created to solve issues that persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience with balance, forward and backward walking, turning, and navigating complex environments. It enhances clinical measurements of walking and balance. Yet how?

In a pilot study, we discovered that participants with Parkinson’s disease resembled highly skilled ballet dancers more after a rigorous three-week programme of tailored tango rehabilitation. The results of adapted tango, according to Lucas McKay, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Emory University who specialises in the mechanics of balance impairment in Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, Jessica Allen, a future assistant professor at West Virginia University and a specialist in human gait, demonstrated that their motor modules were more reliable when performing balance and walking tasks.

Similar to ballet dancers, participants in the modified tango who had PD were able to employ the same motor modules for various motor tasks. In other words, while they strengthened their tango dancing skills, they also built motor modules that aided in their daily walking and balance. This process might help to explain how dancing helps improve balance and gait.

Physical collaboration between a person and a robot in “Dance with me”

Charlie Kemp, a roboticist at Georgia Tech, is another person we work with. He is interested in the natural and advantageous physical interactions that robots may have with people. Could rehabilitation robots one day dance with Parkinson’s patients to help them hone their motor abilities, for instance?

The development of this form of technology depends on the advancement of the science of physical interactions between people. The pressures between two people engaged in cooperative (such as hauling a table jointly) or competitive (such as tug-of-war) tasks are just now being studied by researchers.

In partner dancing, the leader and follower’s physical forces are crucial to the two people’s ability to stay in time with one another. Even with their eyes closed, humans can coordinate in such intricate ways.…

Whole-Body Vibration: Potentially Beneficial for Pain Management and Physical Performance

A growing body of research supports using this therapeutic tool in conjunction with physical activity to increase flexibility, bone density, balance, strength, and lung rehabilitation.

A form of therapy known as whole body vibration (WBV) has been demonstrated to play a significant role in raising neuromuscular performance, enhancing muscular strength, balance, and gait mechanics as well as quality of life. The method entails standing on a platform that is vibrating at a preset frequency, amplitude, and magnitude of oscillation while holding positions or carrying out prescribed exercises. In the clinical setting, WBV was initially used to increase bone-mineral density in patients with osteoporosis. Since then, it has been used to help improve strength and neuromuscular activation in more sedentary populations, including older adults; to lessen pain and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome; to improve postural control and functional mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis; and to improve gait mechanics in patients with Parkinson’s disease. In addition to lung health and body composition, which are discussed in this article, WBV may also have advantages for these variables. In fact, WBV therapy has gained attention in recent years as a potential treatment for pain management in a variety of illnesses.

The therapy has been identified throughout the literature as an effective, noninvasive, non-pharmacological, relatively simple to use, and relatively inexpensive therapy that could provide relief from chronic pain, as described here. However, the technique is still relatively new and needs more research to determine its full efficacy and sustainability.
WBV for Conditions With Chronic Pain

Osteoarthritis (OA), diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), and fibromyalgia all have pain as a prominent symptom. Whole body vibration has shown to have a high rate of adherence, which is unusual for many treatments intended to assist those with chronic pain.

According to research by Park and colleagues, people with knee OA who were experiencing persistent pain received alleviation by combining WBV therapy with a home exercise regimen. More specifically, when compared to people who simply engaged in home-based exercise, those who participated in both WBV therapy and exercise at home reported less intense pain.

A case study by Hong and colleagues looked at patients with DPN who regularly had little numbness, mild tingling, and severe pain. One of the patients was a guy who found it difficult to put pressure on his feet because of the pain and wanted to sit or lay down a lot. WBV therapy was used as an interventional technique for this patient’s pain relief. After each session, the therapy reduced his pain for an average of three hours. Additionally, the patient saw a decrease in pain over time. Kessler and Hong looked at this case’s effects on a bigger study. Similar to this, their research showed that WBV was successful in gradually lessening pain in people with DPN.

Alentorn-Geli and associates investigated how WBV therapy affected fibromyalgia patients. Not only did their findings support WBV therapy for chronic pain, but it’s also interesting to note that there was 0% participant dropout.

Gusi and colleagues investigated the effects of WBV on chronic pain that is not connected to a specific disease or ailment, such as low back pain (LBP).

There is evidence that WBV relieves back pain, but more research is needed, according to the research (detailed below).
WBV for Older Adults & Athletes: Flexibility

Kinesiologists have been researching the impact of flexibility on bodily performance, pain, strength, and quality of life for many years. According to research, muscle groups get longer the more flexibility a person exhibits, and this lengthening may reduce physical discomfort and stress. For instance, the “sit-n-reach test” was developed at a time when LBP prevalence was becoming increasingly well known. The test was used to assess trunk flexion capacity and hamstring flexibility. According to one theory, an athlete’s risk of suffering an injury while playing will be reduced if they have a wider range of motion.

When static stretching regimens are adopted and faithfully followed, older persons have increased function, which also improves their quality of life. Finding a tool that offers rapid, simple, and less strenuous forms of stretching, as well as equivalent to or greater increases in joint range of motion (ROM), may be helpful compared to using just traditional static stretching.

Whole-body vibration might provide the nervous system with a special exposure mechanism that prevents proprioceptors from becoming overly stimulated and, as a result, might leave the muscle in a lengthened, more relaxed state. This behaviour is frequently seen during flexibility training regimens that are both static and dynamic. The muscle spindles appear to become less sensitive as a result of the fast vibrations, allowing the muscle cells to extend without experiencing excessive static stretching. In order to improve ROM through neural mechanisms, dynamic stretching procedures are often performed through deep ROM, held for a brief period of time, and executed very quickly. ²² According to research, WBV platforms might give the body a stimulus akin to a dynamic stretching regimen.

Additional research has tested flexibility following a single exposure to WBV and examined the acute impact of the virus. In comparison to stretching on solid ground, results showed that brief exposure to whole-body vibration may significantly enhance flexibility. The effectiveness of whole-body vibration as a warm-up for athletes before competition has also been demonstrated. ²⁸ Overall, the method has shown to be a reliable tool for improving flexibility more than solid ground-based stretching, allowing for the suppression of muscle spindle activity to result in muscular relaxation.…

Exercise and Rehab for a Healthy Back

Physical therapy and exercise are recommended for people with lower back pain, but they are rarely provided with the information and resources necessary to do so. This discussion will give a fundamental grasp of the factors that contribute to lower back pain and will cover the best exercises and back rehabilitation techniques.

Being better is simply the beginning, of course, as new back pain episodes are frequently experienced throughout time. The best strategy for patients to prevent or reduce the severity of recurrences, whether they are experiencing their first episode of low back pain or have undergone extensive treatments or even surgery, is to rehabilitate the back through suitable back exercises.

Exercise and Back Pain Causes

There are a number of back structures that can be the root of or contribute to low back discomfort. Some of these are: Intervertebral Discs

Although the intervertebral disc is a highly adaptable and durable structure that essentially serves as a shock absorber during daily activities, the disc can occasionally rupture owing to a sudden, unexpected force (such as a fall, lifting, or other trauma) or from normal wear and tear over time. One of the main causes of persistent back pain is that the disc, when damaged, is unable to mend itself very well.

Making matters worse, the pain frequently prevents a patient from exercising, which has a negative impact on disc nutrition. When physical activity and exercise cause the disc to swell up with water and then squeeze it out, similar to a sponge, the disc receives nutrition. When pain limits our ability to move around, the injured disc is starved of nutrients and starts to deteriorate.

Keeping up fluid circulation in spinal structures and reducing edoema that develops naturally in the tissues surrounding a damaged disc both require activity. Nerves that have previously been irritated by herniated disc material may become even more so by this swelling.

Spinal Ligaments, Tendons, and Muscles

The muscles, ligaments, and tendons that make up the spine’s surrounding soft tissues are crucial for maintaining the strength and balance of the spine. The ligaments and tendons’ connective fibres may start to stick together with less exercise, lose tenacity, and even rip under abrupt strain. Soft tissues, however, can swiftly heal themselves after injury, unlike discs or connective tissue.

Muscles and the central nervous system are always in contact, thus feelings of rage or worry can tension the muscles and result in spasms. Constant strain impairs muscular function, causes muscle wasting, worsens stability issues, and can result in persistent lower back discomfort.

vertebral nerves

Muscles that are controlled by such nerves cannot contract when those nerves are severed, pinched, or otherwise irritated. For instance, if a herniated or bulging disc puts pressure on the L4-L5 nerve root, it may prevent the nerve from properly controlling the muscles in the ankle and foot, leading to foot drop, or the capacity to lift the foot or stand on one’s toes.

Chronic vs. Acute Back Pain

It is significant to remember that acute and chronic pain are two separate things. We have all felt severe pain after suffering an unexpected soft tissue injury, such as a sprained ankle or even a minor paper cut. While there is acute discomfort, it eventually fades away as the wounded area mends.

However, unlike acute pain, chronic pain is not linked to anatomical damage. It consists of ongoing, mild stimulation of the neurological system, which finally takes the form of a pattern. Even after the irritant’s initial source has subsided, it could stay in the brain as a “neural memory.” In response to this constant stimulation, the nervous system alters the environment so that previously painless events start to hurt. Even parts that are not wounded may experience pain.

Certain drugs and emotional anxiety can make this phenomena worse. Active exercise done in a controlled, non-destructive manner is a good way to divert the nervous system. The physiological conditions needed for the wounded structures to repair are also aided by active exercise.…