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 -- therapy


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating, life-altering injury that presents a variety of rehabilitative and long-term medical management challenges. Not only must the inability to ambulate, which is generally of primary concern to the patient, be addressed, but also the inherent degenerative and deconditioning effects of SCI which may ultimately lead to various secondary complications.

Recently, functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been the subject of a variety of research concerning the rehabilitation of individuals with SCI. FES is a means of activating alpha motor neurons to stimulate muscular contraction and elicit a therapeutic or functional effect.

The purpose of this paper is to examine and review current uses of FES in the spinal cord injured individual to restore functional movement of the lower extremities. Specifically, it will focus on muscle conditioning, cardiovascular conditioning, and control of standing and ambulation with an explanation of the physiologic effect of each of these activities. The role of FES in combating and preventing secondary complications of SCI will also be reviewed.

This paper will involve an extensive literature review of the topics. The results of this paper will aid physical therapists in the clinical management of SCI through the use of FES.