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Immediate effect of scalp acupuncture on the gait of patients with subacute intracerebral haemorrhage analysed by three-dimensional motion: secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial


Objective To investigate the immediate effect of scalp acupuncture on walking pattern, using three-dimensional gait analysis (3D-GA), among patients in the subacute stage of intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH).

Methods A subset of 30 patients with subacute ICH participating in a recently published randomised controlled trial who were able to walk independently were assessed by 3D-GA before and immediately after scalp acupuncture treatment (treatment group) or no intervention (control group) and the results presented here as a secondary analysis. The acupuncture manipulation was repeated three times with an interval of 5 min. Spatiotemporal and kinematic parameters during walking were collected and analysed using a 3D motion analysis system.

Results After treatment, there were significant differences between the treatment and control groups in the spatiotemporal parameters of step length, velocity and cadence (p<0.05) and double-limb support. No significant difference was found in step width. When kinematic parameters were evaluated, the treatment group showed a significantly decreased peak pelvic anterior tilt angle and an increased hip extension angle after scalp acupuncture treatment, whereas the control group demonstrated no temporal changes. There were no significant changes in any other kinematic parameters in either group.

Conclusions As the first exploratory study to investigate the effect of the scalp acupuncture on gait performance in patients with subacute ICH, this secondary analysis of a recent randomised trial suggested an immediate effect of treatment on spatiotemporal parameters. Improvement in gait pattern may be associated with a decreased anterior tilt of the pelvis and augmented hip joint motion during walking.

Trial registration number ChiCTR-TRC-08000225; Post-results.

  • acupuncture
  • stroke
  • rehabilitation medicine

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