Introduction: High proportion of stroke survivors have impaired functional mobility and decrease in overall quality of life (QoL). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) (non-invasive brain stimulation) and over-ground walking task (OGWT) (functional task-oriented training) have been suggested to improve functional mobility and QoL of stroke survivors. Hence, this study determined the efficacy of tDCS (anodal and cathodal) with OGWT on functional mobility and QoL of stroke survivors.
Materials and methods: Seventy eight (78) stroke survivors were randomised into three groups: anodal group (anodal tDCS with OGWT); cathodal group (cathodal tDCS with OGWT) and control group (OGWT only). Participants had two sessions of intervention per week for six weeks. Functional mobility was assessed using 10 meter walk test (10MWT) measuring steps, time and velocity while QoL was measured using Stroke Specific QoL (SSQoL) scale. Significance level was set at p < 0.05.
Results: Participants (46 males) were aged 56.78 ± 10.24 years. The groups were matched for functional mobility and QoL at baseline and only work/productivity domain of SSQoL showed statistically significant difference (p = 0.028). Each group showed statistically significant improvement between baseline and post-intervention scores of items in functional mobility (p ≤ 0.001) and total SSQoL (p ≤ 0.001). Anodal group showed better statistically significant improvement in step (p = 0.008), time (p = 0.024), velocity (p = 0.001) and total SSQoL (p = 0.016) among the groups when the mean differences were compared.
Conclusion: tDCS with OGWT is efficacious in improving functional mobility and QoL of stroke survivors. Specifically anodal tDCS with OGWT showed better clinical improvement in step, time, velocity and QoL in stroke survivors.