Effect of therapeutic riding on posture in children with CP
Children with cerebral palsy often undergo years of therapy in an attempt to normalize muscle tone and improve posture. It can be challenging for the physiotherapist to sustain the child’s interest in the therapy. With therapeutic riding, the child can be placed in specific postures on the horse to get a specific response. Furthermore, the warmth of the horse combined with the rhythmical movement of walking is thought to be useful in reducing high muscle tone and promoting relaxation. This study aims to investigate the postural changes in children with spastic cerebral palsy after participation in a therapeutic riding program.
Eleven children with cerebral palsy were assessed twice by three independent physiotherapists on their posture to find the baseline. They then underwent a ten week therapeutic riding program where they rode in groups of three twice a week. The program was carefully structured with specific therapeutic activities to facilitate achievement of specific therapeutic goals. The children were reassessed on their posture after the ten week period.
The results show a significant improvement with regards to posture after the therapeutic riding therapy. These included, but are not limited to, decreased hyperextension of the neck, decreased postural scoliosis, and improved pelvic alignment. Furthermore, improvements were also found in muscle tone and balance as evidenced by improvement of functional skills.
Expert opinion by Els Smet
The result show that therapeutic riding could be used to improve posture in children with cerebral palsy. However, the article also states that the results were limited with children that were scared of horses. It is possible that the technique used in this article is outdated. It was written in 1988.
> From: Bertoli, Physical Therapy 68 (1988) 1505-1512. All rights reserved to Oxford Academic. Click here for the online summary.