Training of leg muscle in spinal cord injured people using electrical stimulation

Collaborative research carried out in Amsterdam and Nijmegen and in collaboration with Professor David Jones of Birmingham University studied the effect of using different frequencies of electrical stimulation when training leg muscles of spinal cord injured people.
Muscle & Nerve 2002 Apr;25(4):559-67.

Effects of two different training regimens on the contractile properties of the quadriceps muscle were studied in six individuals with spinal cord injury. Each subject had both limbs trained with the two regimens, consisting of stimulation with low frequencies (LF) at 10 HZ or high frequencies (HF) at 50 HZ; one limb of each subject was stimulated with the LF protocol and the other with the HF regimen. Twelve weeks of daily training increased tetanic tension by approximately 20%, which was not significantly different between training regimens.

Interestingly, after HF but not LF training, the unusual high forces at the low frequency range of the force-frequency relationship decreased, possibly due to a reduced activation per impulse. After LF but not HF training, force oscillation amplitudes declined (by 33%) as relaxation tended to slow, which may have opposed possible effects of reduced activation as seen after HF training. Finally, fatigue resistance also increased rapidly after LF training (by 43%) but not after HF training. These results indicate that different types of training may selectively change different aspects of function in disused muscles.


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