Purpose of the study: To evaluate the after-effects of pedaling on spinal excitability and spinal reciprocal inhibition in patients with post-stroke spastic hemiparesis. Materials and methods: Twenty stroke patients with severe hemiparesis participated in this study and were instructed to perform 7 min of active pedaling and 7 min of passive pedaling with a recumbent ergometer at a comfortable speed. H reflexes and M waves of paretic soleus muscles were recorded at rest before, immediately after and 30 min after active and passive pedaling. The Hmax/Mmax ratio and H recruitment curve were measured. Reciprocal inhibition was assessed using the soleus H reflex conditioning test paradigm. Results: The Hmax/Mmax ratio was significantly decreased after active and passive pedaling exercise. The decreased Hmax/Mmax ratio after active pedaling lasted at least for 30 min. The H recruitment curve and reciprocal inhibition did not change significantly after active or passive pedaling exercise. Conclusions: Pedaling exercise decreased spinal excitability in patients with severe hemiparesis. Pedaling may be effective in rehabilitation following stroke.
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