About the Motor Control Restoration Program

Motor Control Restoration

Ariadne, a pediatric stroke patient, went from using a wheelchair to walking independently.

Motor Control Restoration

Standing balance training is often a first step in stroke rehabilitation.

Motor Control Restoration

Patients learn to use their leg muscles using a Lite-Gait support system.

Motor Control Restoration

Muscle activity is displayed on a screen. Some muscles are targeted to be used (green), and some to relax (red). Most of us do this automatically, but those recovering from an injury have to relearn this skill.

In order to achieve restoration of movement in injured patients, I created a new way to target and train muscle use called Quantitative Surface Electromyography (QSEMG). This method is a form of biofeedback called Surface Electromyography (SEMG), a technique that has been around for years.  Treatment using SEMG typically involves biofeedback to help people relax their muscles.  Those who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury need a way to activate their muscles.  Small electrodes that look like a band-aid are applied to the skin. The muscle activity is then read by a computer.  SEMG has been used to help speed recovery after a stroke or head injury.  However, the outcomes are typically deficient, because SEMG only targets two muscles. Starting with the existing form of SEMG, I modified the treatment so the groups or “constellations” of muscles used to perform a movement are all targeted, not just one or two.

Motor Control Restoration is a brain injury recovery program 26 years in the making. I created the program at the Cleveland Clinic to help children, adolescents and adults recover from traumatic injuries. The program provides specialized stroke rehabilitation and auto accident recovery treatment, as well as treatment for the improvement of ongoing disabilities such as cerebral palsy.  The goal of the treatment is restoration of movement.  Patients learn how to regain use of their muscles by becoming aware of existing muscle activity. In many cases where there doesn’t appear to be any brain or muscle activity, there actually is—just not enough to produce visible movement. Patients learn to detect this activity and build upon it. As explained below, Quantitative Surface Electromyography (QSEMG) can help in recovering lost motor ability.

For example, in stroke rehabilitation, regaining the movement in the arms is often a goal. I use specially developed algorithms or a series of steps that tells the computer how to analyze the movement. If the correct group of muscles is used, a video is activated. In order for the video to continue, the patient must perform the movement correctly. If they lose the correct movement, the video turns off until the movement is produced again. In this way the patient is not only practicing the movement but is practicing the movement using the correct muscles. Treatment also includes pain management for issues related to the original injury, as well pain that may have emerged after the injury.

Benefits of the Motor Control Restoration Program:

These are just a few of the benefits patients receive from the Motor Control Restoration Program:

  • Produces results for patients ages childhood through adulthood.
  • Restoration of movement & posture for improved standing, walking, reaching, handling objects, and upper body use.
  • Progress can be seen in as little as three sessions.
  • Enables patients to regain independence in self-care.