Background: Conventional physical therapy has been used in children with cerebral palsy aiming for improving motor abilities and functional independence. Resistance training is now commonly used in clinical practice in children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy.
Purpose: To investigate and compare the effects of functional strength training versus conventional physical therapy in children with cerebral palsy.
Methods: Fifty-three children with spastic diplegia age ranged from 7 to 11 years were included. They were randomly assigned to either group I (conventional physical therapy) or group II (functional strength training). The training was conducted for 90 minutes three-times a week for 6 successive months. Selective voluntary motor control, gross motor function and functional balance were assessed before and immediately after the intervention using selective control assessment of lower extremity, gross motor function measure and pediatric balance scale.
Results: The pre-treatment comparison showed non-significant difference between the two groups in all measured variables. Within group comparison showed significant improvement in the mean values of selective motor control, gross motor function and functional balance in the two groups. While posttreatment comparison revealed significant greater improvements in the group II compared with the group I (P<0.05).
Conclusion: These outcomes indicated that functional strength training is likely more effective than conventional physical therapy in improving selective voluntary motor control, gross motor function and functional balance.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy, Functional balance, Functional strengthening exercises, Selective voluntary motor control, Spastic diplegia