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Backward Treadmill May Help Stroke Survivors Recover

While walking backward may seem counterintuitive, a new study shows that it may help stroke survivors recover strength and agility, especially in their limbs.

Stroke results from blockage of blood flow or bleeding into a part of the brain, inhibiting signals from that part of the brain to the muscles. Affected person lose their ability to walk or talk. A team of neurologists has examined how backward treadmill could rebuild muscle tone and brain-muscle connection in stroke survivors and help them recover fast.

The lead researcher, Dr. Awosika, said despite walking rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies, a majority of stroke survivors still do not recover their ability to walk independently. He noted that backward treadmill training is a new approach to physical therapy for stroke survivors, which has long been used by elite athletes to enhance speed, agility, and balance.

According to him, backward walking builds muscle that are underactivated and underutilized during forward walking,  and requires extra focus that may help rebuild the brain-muscle connection.

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