Biofeedback techniques provide information to the patient in order to enhance appropriate responses, specifically gait movements in this example. The mechanisms of biofeedback are not clear, but it is thought that the artificial sensory information may facilitate some conscious control over the movement.
In the study by Govil & Noohu (2013), biofeedback was provided in the form of EMG from the gluteus maximus muscle. Participants (N=30) were randomized into 2 groups either receiving biofeedback and gait rehabilitation or just gait rehabilitation. Both groups significantly improved from baseline in EMG amplitude, walking velocity and step length but the group receiving biofeedback improved by more. The biofeedback group also had significantly higher walking cadence. In the Tamburella et al. (2013) study, the visual biofeedback group experienced significant improvement in balance and gait measures which were maintained at follow-up.
There is level 2 evidence (1 low quality RCT) (Govil & Noohu 2013) that EMG biofeedback may improve gait outcomes in patients with SCI.
- EMG Biofeedback may improve gait outcomes in incomplete SCI.