Original article| Volume 95, ISSUE 4, P615-621, April 2014

Effect of Overground Training Augmented by Mental Practice on Gait Velocity in Chronic, Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Published:December 16, 2013DOI:



      To compare the efficacy of a regimen combining mental practice (MP) with overground training (OT) with the efficacy of a regimen consisting of OT only on gait velocity and lower extremity motor outcomes in individuals with chronic (>12mo postinjury), incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI).


      Randomized, controlled, single-blinded study.


      Outpatient rehabilitation laboratories.


      Subjects with chronic, incomplete SCI (N=18).


      Subjects were randomly assigned to receive (1) OT only, occurring 3d/wk for 8 weeks; or (2) OT augmented by MP (MP + OT), during which randomly assigned subjects listened to an MP audio recording directly after OT sessions.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Subjects were administered a test of gait velocity as well as the Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment, Spinal Cord Injury Independence Measure, and Satisfaction With Life Scale on 2 occasions before intervention, 1 week after intervention, and 12 weeks after intervention.


      A significant increase in gait velocity was exhibited across subjects at both 1 week posttherapy (P=.005) and at 12 weeks posttherapy (P=.006). However, no differences were seen in intervention response at either 1 or 12 weeks postintervention among subjects in the MP + OT group versus the OT-only group.


      OT was associated with significant gains in gait velocity, and these gains were not augmented by further addition of MP.


      List of abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), MP (mental practice), OT (overground training), POMA (Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment), SCI (spinal cord injury), SCIM (Spinal Cord Injury Independence Measure), SWLS (Satisfaction With Life Scale)
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