Andrew S Bonci, BA, DC, DAAPM
Human Performance Laboratory
This is an initial study designed to determine if Intracell Technology, which employs the application of a novel device called the Intracell, can immediately increase grip strength. It has been suggested that stretching muscle tissue can result in increased strength according to the length-tension principle. Grip strength of the experimental group was significantly increased, whereas grip strength of the control group was not.
The Intracell ErgoGenic 2250 model, was selected for the study because it is currently being used to counteract the effects of repetitive strain injuries and cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The State of Georgia selected the ErgoGenic 2250 for employees working with visual display terminals to help stem the tide of repetitive strain injury to the carpal tunnel. The ErgoGenic 2250 [RPI of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA] contains a 22 inch semi-flexible, Delrin rod around which 12 independent spindles freely rotate. This device comes with handles and a seat plate that allows for efficient self-therapy.
A feature of carpal tunnel syndrome is progressive loss of grip strength with eventual numbness and tingling throughout the wrist, hand and fingers. Grip strength can be efficiently measured with a standard grip strength dynamometer.
It was proposed that increases in grip strength may have a protective effect against repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. To investigate this hypothesis pre and post grip strength measures were collected on volunteers. This study was designed to quantify immediate changes in grip strength following application of the ErgoGenic 2250. This favorable preliminary study lays fertile ground for large scale investigations of the ErgoGenic 2250 regarding the prevention of repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Thirty professional students ranging in age from 22 to 58 years were randomly divided into two groups of 15. A baseline grip strength measure was collected on the dominant hand of each volunteer. For the control group, a latency period of 5 minutes was allowed to elapse before a follow-up grip strength was collected. Using the ErgoGenic 2250, the experimental group self-applied 30 deep strokes to the flexor mass and 30 deep strokes to the extensor mass of the dominant forearm. Following the prescribed application, the experimental volunteers performed a follow-up grip strength measure.
All subjects were required to be pain-free on their dominant side and without a diagnosis of wrist injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.
The volunteers serving in the experimental group demonstrated the following grip strength measures: [mean +/- SD]
Initial Measure: 56.0+/-9.7 kg
Final Measure: 58.5+/-9.1 kg
The calculated t-value for paired data was 3.54 with 14 degrees of freedom resulting in a p-value of 0.003. These data demonstrate that grip strength significantly increased after intervention of the ErgoGenic 2250.
The volunteers serving as controls demonstrated the following grip strength measures: [mean +/- SD]
Initial Measure: 50.8+/-13.9 kg
Final Measure: 52.3+/-14.3 kg
The calculated t-value for paired data was 1.46 with 14 degrees of freedom resulting in a p-value of 0.1662. These data demonstrate that, without intervention of the ErgoGenic 2250, grip strength did not significantly increase.
The ErgoGenic 2250 proved to increase grip strength of the volunteers in the experimental group. This result may serve as strong evidence for its use as a preventive and therapeutic modality for repetitive strain injuries and cumulative trauma disorders. The ErgoGenic 2250 is designed for self-application of therapy, which makes it cost effective and time efficient. Preventive and therapeutic application can be applied whenever and wherever the subject finds it necessary.
It is noteworthy that minimal instruction was required by the study subjects. A simple and brief explanation and demonstration of the method of application of the ErgoGenic 2250 was sufficient to train each study subject. While observing and supervising the study subjects, there were no instances when subjects deviated from the prescribed protocol.
A cardinal sign of carpal tunnel syndrome, grip strength weakness, may be modulated by a novel device called the Intracell ErgoGenic 2250. In this study of normal healthy volunteers, grip strength was significantly and immediately increased following a single therapeutic application. This study opens the door for additional research into the application of devices, such as the ErgoGenic 2250, in regard to their preventive and therapeutic value for repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome.