NYMC Faculty Publications

A Motor Learning-Based Postural Intervention With a Robotic Trunk Support Trainer to Improve Functional Sitting in Spinal Cord Injury: Case Report

Author Type(s)


Journal Title

Spinal Cord Series and Cases

First Page


Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date



Physical Therapy


STUDY DESIGN: Single-subject-research-design.

OBJECTIVES: To improve seated postural control in a participant with spinal cord injury (SCI) with a robotic Trunk-Support-Trainer (TruST).

SETTING: Laboratory.

METHODS: TruST delivered "assist-as-needed" forces on the participant's torso during a motor learning-and-control-based intervention (TruST-intervention). TruST-assistive forces were progressed and matched to the participant's postural trunk control gains across six intervention sessions. The T-shirt test was used to capture functional improvements while dressing the upper body. Kinematics were used to compute upper body excursions (cm) and velocity (cm

RESULTS: After TruST-intervention, the participant halved the time needed to don and doff a T-shirt, increased muscle force of trunk muscles (mean = 3 kg), acquired a steadier postural sitting control without vision (mean excursion baseline: 76.0 ± 2 SD = 5.25 cm and post-intervention: 44.1 cm; and mean velocity baseline: 3.0 ± 2 SD = 0.2 cm/s and post-intervention: 1.8 cm/s), and expanded his sitting workspace area (mean baseline: 36.7 ± 2 SD = 36.6 cm

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate a potential effectiveness of TruST-intervention to promote functional sitting in SCI.