Réorganisation des circuits neuronaux spinaux et potentiel de la massothérapie comme intervention de réadaptation pour les personnes ayant une lésion de la moelle épinière


Nathaly Gaudreault

Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS)


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Consortium pour le développement de la recherche en traumatologie - Volet 2

Concours 2016-2017

Despite the effectiveness of massage therapy on pain reduction reported by most users with a spinal cord injury (SCI), there is little compelling evidence for its effect on other rehabilitation goals, such as management of spasticity and contractures. The overall goal of the present research is to determine the immediate effect of massage therapy on spasticity and myofascial viscoelastic properties in patients who suffered a SCI. Our team will test the hypothesis that massage therapy mediates its beneficial effects by modulating specific neural pathways and viscoelastic properties of the muscle. To validate this hypothesis, spasticity (including spasms and hyperreflexia) and viscoelastic properties (elasticity, stiffness, non neural resting tone) of the calf muscle of adult subjects with a complete traumatic SCI will be quantified before and immediately after the application of a standardized massage therapy technique.

The massage therapy technique will consist of slow and deep lengthwise strokes. A pressure quantification system will provide quantitative feedback on the amount of pressure applied and the rate of application will be monitored with a metronome. A clear demonstration of the rehabilitation potential of massage therapy will have immediate impact on the treatment of traumatic SCI patients. Our results will provide highly specific targets, in the form of electrophysiological biomarkers, to test the effectiveness of massage therapy. Importantly, massage therapy is cost effective and it can be easily implemented early after SCI to reactivate neuronal and circuit functions in preparation of exercises.