The Effect of Electro-Acupuncture on Spasticity of the Wrist Joint in Chronic Stroke Survivors

Mukul Mukherjee, Lisa K. McPeak, John B. Redford, Chao Sun, Wen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Mukherjee M, McPeak LK, Redford JB, Sun C, Liu W. The effect of electro-acupuncture on spasticity of the wrist joint in chronic stroke survivors. Objective: To quantitatively assess the change in spasticity of the impaired wrist joint in chronic stroke patients after electro-acupuncture treatment. Design: Crossover design. Setting: University medical center research laboratory. Participants: Seven chronic stroke subjects (age, 63.14±7.01y). Intervention: Participants received two 6-week treatment regimens: combined electro-acupuncture and strengthening twice a week, and strengthening twice a week only. Muscle strength and spasticity of the wrist joint were quantified by using the Biodex multijoint System 3 Pro. Electro-acupuncture was given through a commercial electro-acupuncture device. Main Outcome Measures: Velocity sensitivity of averaged speed-dependent reflex torque (VASRT); segmented averaged speed-dependent reflex torque (SASRT); Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) scores; and integrated electromyographic activity of the affected wrist flexors during passive stretch of the affected wrist joint. Results: VASRT was reduced significantly in the combined treatment group (P=.02) after the 6-week period, but not in the strengthening-only group (P=.23); however, no significant immediate effect of electro-acupuncture was observed (P>.05). MAS scores also showed a significant reduction (P<.01). SASRT did not differ significantly across different positions of the joint or across velocity; however, significant differences were present between the 2 treatment groups (P<.05) for each position and at all the velocities except at 20°/s. Integrated electromyographic activity showed a trend for reduction after the combined treatment. Conclusions: A combination of electro-acupuncture and muscle strengthening exercise for 6 weeks significantly reduced spasticity. The effect of spasticity reduction was consistent across different joint positions and different velocities of passive stretch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Acupuncture
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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