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Keywords:

  • bladder function;
  • functional electrical stimulation;
  • motor relearning;
  • neuromuscular electrical stimulation;
  • neuroprosthesis;
  • rehabilitation;
  • respiratory control;
  • spinal cord injury;
  • stroke

Abstract

This review provides a comprehensive overview of the clinical uses of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) for functional and therapeutic applications in subjects with spinal cord injury or stroke. Functional applications refer to the use of NMES to activate paralyzed muscles in precise sequence and magnitude to directly accomplish functional tasks. In therapeutic applications, NMES may lead to a specific effect that enhances function, but does not directly provide function. The specific neuroprosthetic or “functional” applications reviewed in this article include upper- and lower-limb motor movement for self-care tasks and mobility, respectively, bladder function, and respiratory control. Specific therapeutic applications include motor relearning, reduction of hemiplegic shoulder pain, muscle strengthening, prevention of muscle atrophy, prophylaxis of deep venous thrombosis, improvement of tissue oxygenation and peripheral hemodynamic functioning, and cardiopulmonary conditioning. Perspectives on future developments and clinical applications of NMES are presented. Muscle Nerve, 2007