Background: The ability to retain or improve seated balance function after spinal cord injury (SCI) may mean the difference between independence and requiring assistance for basic activities of daily living. Compared with assessments of standing and walking balance, seated balance assessments remain relatively underemphasized and under-utilized. Objective: To optimize tools for assessing seated balance deficits and recovery in SCI. Design: Cross-sectional observational study of different methods for assessing seated balance function. Setting: Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury. Participants: Seven able-bodied volunteers, seven participants with chronic motor-complete thoracic SCI. Interventions: A computerized pressure-plate apparatus designed for testing standing balance was adapted into a seated balance assessment system. Outcome measures: Seated section of Berg Balance Scale; modified functional reach test; and two posturography tests: limits of stability and clinical test of sensory integration on balance. Results: Seated posturography demonstrated improved correlation with neurological level of lesion compared to that of routinely applied subjective clinical tests. Conclusion: Seated posturography represents an appealing outcome measure that may be applied toward the measurement of functional changes in response to various rehabilitation interventions in individuals with paralysis.
- Assistive technology
- Berg balance scale
- Limits of stability
- Modified functional reach test
- Spinal cord injuries