Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Electric Stimulation Therapy; Spinal Cord Injuries


Injury of the spinal cord resulting in quadriplegia or paraplegia IS one of the most devastating conditions a person can experience. The majority of these individuals that suffer from a spinal cord injury are young males. The inability to ambulate is generally a major concern for these patients, but there are also degenerative and deconditioning effects of the spinal cord injury which may lead to devastating secondary complications that must be addressed.

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been the subject of much research concerning the rehabilitation for patients with spinal cord injury. Functional electrical stimulation is a way to activate motor neurons to elicit a muscular contraction in order to achieve a functional or therapeutic effect.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and review the literature regarding current uses of functional electrical stimulation in the person with a spinal cord injury to restore functional movement in the lower extremities. This study will be focused on cardiovascular conditioning, muscle development, and applications of FES to assist standing and ambulating. The physiological benefits of these activities will also be explored and the role functional electrical stimulation plays in preventing and correcting secondary complications will be discussed.

Information resulting from this study will serve as a reference to aid physical therapists in the clinical management and rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries through the use of functional electrical stimulation.