Research has found that adding core stability exercises to physical therapy improves posture and walking ability in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which affects movement on only one side of the body, is the most common form of cerebral palsy. It frequently affects the ability of children to keep an upright position, maintain standing balance, coordinate movement, and be able to walk.
Core muscles around the trunk and pelvis are the base of support for the body. They help to keep it balanced and stable while connecting the upper and lower body. The core muscles are essential for movement, such as walking.
Low core strength endurance and stability have been considered as factors for reduced functional capacity and impaired motor skills in children with the condition.
The study, from Cairo University in Egypt, evaluated the beneficial effects of adding core stability training to physical therapy on trunk endurance and walking ability in 30 children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
The 17 boys and 13 girls age 10 to 12 were randomly assigned to either a predefined physical therapy program with additional core stability training or to physical therapy alone, three times a week for eight weeks.
Endurance time of muscles was measured with four tests, where the child was asked to hold specific positions for as long as possible whilst walking parameters were tested using a gait trainer.
All tests were performed at the beginning of the study and after eight weeks of physical therapy.
Both groups showed improvement in trunk endurance and walking ability, but children who had the additional core training showed significantly greater improvement.
These findings suggest that “a stable and strong core may contribute to more efficient use of the lower limbs which could enhance the patients walking ability and velocity,” researchers wrote.