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Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation

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Back in Action with the NESS System 

Technology helps stroke patients regain use of their arms and legs

Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation’s (BIR) physical therapists are using high-tech devices to help stroke, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury patients regain function in their arms and legs. For patients who haven’t regained sensation in their limbs, BIR therapists teach them to use the

NESS system, a functional neuromuscular education device, to restore use of their limbs. The NESS System is comprised of a Ness H200™ and Ness L300™. Each device is designed to fit accurately over target muscles and allow independent application and removal by patients.

How It Works

BIR’s physical therapists use the devices to work with patients to retrain muscles through exercise to regain strength and motor function, according to Julia Marton, OTL, rehab supervisor at BIR. For example, using the Handmaster, therapists work with patients to keep their hand open or closed for an extended period. Therapists at BIR also help patients use their entire body plus hands to regain functionality, including the ability to reach and grab a cup out of the cabinet or load a dishwasher, Marton says. The Handmaster is also useful for patients lacking feeling in their hands, she says, noting that it can act as a functional thumb controlled by a trigger button that stroke patients can manipulate easily with their functional hand. (No fine motor skills are required.) The leg device is similar; it is easy for patients to put on and take off and is designed to use mild stimulation to help patients lift their foot to walk more safely and easily, possibly eliminating the need for heavy orthotics.

The majority of BIR therapists are trained on the use of the NESS system, which is used for inpatients, outpatients and day neuro patients, as appropriate.