August 4, 2019

RPSS, Part 3: Unique Therapies

Repetitive Peripheral Somatosensory Stimulation (RPSS) is used at Innova Brain to promote neural integration throughout the brain. This modality is a form of electrical impulse that stimulates the superficial nerves close to the skin. This form of electrical nerve stimulation feels like a minor tingle on the skin and the treating intensity level is not painful. 

Our doctors apply the mild stimulation to the nerves of the face, arm or leg.  This stimulation triggers activity of the sensory nerves that is carried to the brain and additionally produces a motor/movement response. The sensory nerves carry the signal to the parietal (somatosensory) cortex where the brain unravels the signal to tell you precisely where the stimulation was applied, what type of stimulation it was, and other elements related to the stimulus. The parietal cortex then sends messages to the frontal (motor/muscle activating cortex). This can be interpreted as a priming stimulation for movement generated by the frontal lobe in concert with the cerebellum and other brain structures. 

RPSS can be effectively used with all types of ABI (acquired brain injury) including post stroke, post-concussion syndrome, and many others. There are several different protocols that can be used for this modality such as a gait protocol where the doctors stimulate the nerves responsible for creating our walking patterns. This technique can also be used on branches of the trigeminal nerve to cause activation of the brainstem structures that are frequently injured in all types of acquired brain injury. 

If you have any questions about this therapy or feel like RPSS could help you, please call Innova Brain Rehabilitation at 770-485-6554 to set up a complimentary consultation.


Contributed by our Summer 2019 Student Intern, Nicholas Weston


Further Readings:

Jung K, Jung J, In T, Kim T, Cho HY. The influence of Task-Related Training combined with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation on paretic upper limb muscle activation in patients with chronic stroke. NeuroRehabilitation. 2017;40(3):315–323. doi:10.3233/NRE-161419

Conforto AB, Ferreiro KN, Tomasi C, et al. Effects of somatosensory stimulation on motor function after subacute stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2010;24(3):263–272

dos Santos-Fontes, R. L., Ferreiro de Andrade, K. N., Sterr, A., & Conforto, A. B. (2013). Home-Based Nerve Stimulation to Enhance Effects of Motor Training in Patients in the Chronic Phase After Stroke: A Proof-of-Principle Study. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 27(6), 483–490.

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