Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

Department

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson

Keywords

Postural Balance

Abstract

Balance is a critical component in maintaining optimal function in daily activities, and it is a skill that is frequently affected in individuals who have experienced some type of neurological, vestibular, orthopedic, or musculoskeletal deficit. A successful balance training program that can be used to improve such a person's balance can be of great use and importance to a patient and a therapist. Studies have shown that balance can be improved in subjects with deficits, however little is known about the effects of training on individuals that lack balance impairments. The purpose of this study was to determine if healthy individuals could show a significant improvement in components of unilateral stance (test of static steadiness) and limits of stability (test of dynamic stability) as assessed by the Neurocom® Balance Master (NBM®). Additionally, the study will also determine if different balance treatment approaches had different outcomes in the subjects' results.

Thirty-six subjects (8 males, 28 females) were assessed on the NBM® and divided into the following three groups: a control group (Group 0), a balance training group (Group 1), and a balance training group that used the Bodyblade® (Group 2). The two training groups participated in balance training programs for a five-week period, and the control group did not. After the five-week period all subjects were retested on the NBM® to determine if there was a statistically significant change or improvement in their data from the initial assessment. Data was also analyzed to determine if any of the groups had significantly more improvement than any of the others. After the completion of the second assessment, the data was analyzed statistically at an alpha level of .05 using a repeated measures t-test, Wilcoxon, and one-way analysis of variance.

The two groups of healthy subjects that participated in balance training did show improvements in one component of unilateral stance and two components of limits of stability. However, statistically, these two groups did not improve significantly more than the control group, which received no training. This may have been due to multiple limitations identified by the researcher. With attention paid to these limitations, this study can be used as a preliminary model that can serve as a vantage point upon which to build future research.

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