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Experience of treadmill walking and audio-visual feedback after brain injury

Conference contribution
Authors Anna Danielsson
Karin Törnbom
Published in ACPIN-INPA International Neurophysiotherapy Conference, London UK, 17-18 March 2016
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords stroke, walking, virtual reality
Subject categories Physiotherapy


Background People with stroke often have a low physical activity level and finding ways to motivate people to become more physically active is highly important. Using virtual reality in rehabilitation has shown positive effects, however knowledge about patients’ perceptions of this type of training is needed. Purpose To explore mental and physical experiences of treadmill walking and audio – visual (AV) feedback after brain injury. Method Three woman and seven men (median age 51) with stroke/other brain injury were interviewed after walking on a treadmill with and without AV- feedback mediated as follows: the speed of a realistic movie projecting a walking path, with nature sounds and step rhythm sounds, (through earphones) were directed by software connected to movement sensors donned to the legs. Semi structured interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis (QCA). Interviews were read by both authors and a coding scheme based on key concepts related to the research questions was developed. All codes were retrieved in the interviews and grouped into categories. To catch the latent meaning, categories were formulated into themes. Results Themes comprised positive and negative experiences. Participants experienced treadmill walking as enjoyable. The AV- feedback was mainly considered as pleasurable and exiting. Patients with mental weariness were ambivalent and found the AV-feedback more or less disturbing. Therefore, they considered the experience to be too exhausting in this early stage of rehabilitation. No fall incidents occurred but patients with balance problems using hand support reported tiredness in the hand. Conclusions In general, participants liked and found this inexpensive AV –feedback motivating and more enjoyable than ordinary treadmill walking. However, to avoid perceptional overload the amount of stimuli provided should be adjusted to the each individual. Further studies are needed to investigate if AV-feedback can be used to increase exercise intensity.

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