Objective: The study assessed the effect of a single session of repetitive peripheral magnetic stimulation (rpMS) combined with manual stretch on wrist and finger flexor muscle spasticity.
Methods: Forty chronic patients after CNS lesion with a severe wrist and finger flexor spasticity with a Modified Ashworth Score (MAS, 0-5) of either 2, 3 or 4 participated and formed two groups. A single session of rpMS (A) or sham (B) (5 Hz, Intensity 60% or 0%, 3s trains, 750 stimuli delivered within five minutes) was applied in an A-B (group I) or B-A (group II) design. A 30 min baseline (90 min follow-up) proceeded (followed) A or B. During the intervention, the wrist and metatarsophalangeal (MCP) joints were stretched manually. Primary variable was the wrist and finger flexor spasticity, assessed with the help of the Modified Ashworth Score (MAS, 0-5), by a rater blinded to treatment allocation. A- and B-data were pooled irrespective of group assignment.
Results: At study onset, both groups were homogeneous. Following rpMS but not sham, the wrist and finger MAS significantly decreased over time. Accordingly, the MAS of the rpMS group was significantly less at t+5 min (wrist p=0.002, MCP joints p<0.001) and at t+90 min (MCP joints p=0.002). No side effects occurred.
Conclusion: A single session of rpMS but not sham in combination with manual stretch significantly reduced the wrist and finger flexor muscle spasticity in chronically CNS-lesioned patients. Long-term studies including an rpMS group only should follow.