Changes in brain activation patterns after physiotherapy program

The goal of this study was to substantiate the neuromuscular mechanism of action of Postural Reconstruction by evidencing pre- vs. post-intervention changes in brain activation patterns during sustained ankle dorsiflexion. It concerns a single-centre, prospective, randomized, controlled, parallel-group trial. Sixteen healthy subjects (8 males and 8 females; age range: 20–23) were randomized into two groups: an interventional Postural Reconstruction1 group (n = 8) and a control stretching group (n = 8). Both groups performed 10 weekly sessions. The Postural Reconstruction1 sessions involved five manoeuvres and the stretching sessions involved five different exercises. Brain activation patterns were measured via single-photon emission computed tomography. Each subject received two 1480 MBq doses (3 months apart). We performed a voxel-wise statistical analysis (using Statistical Parametric Mapping software) to detect changes in brain activation within each group. Results. – We observed statistically significant pre- vs. post-intervention changes in brain activation patterns in the Postural Reconstruction1 group (a neuromuscular approach), but also in the stretching group (viewed as a mechanical approach). There were no significant intergroup differences in the pre- or post-intervention brain activation patterns. Conclusions. – Our results suggest that the two different physiotherapy programmes have a neuromuscular mechanism of action and evidenced changes in brain activation patterns in young, healthy adults (i.e. free of CNS lesions) during the performance of ankle movements.