Each year, more than 200,000 people will suffer a stroke, and millions more suffer from multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions that affect the nervous system. The effect of these conditions on the nervous system is profound and often leaves individuals struggling with physical disability and deficits of the hand, arm, and/or leg. These limitations are particularly frustrating because they take away a person’s independence. Not only are patients unable to do the things they love such as sports and travel, but, in some cases, they are unable to simply complete the daily tasks of life, such as getting dressed in the morning, brushing their teeth, and cooking for themselves.

To encourage mobility, people suffering from disability related to a neurological disorder or traumatic event are typically prescribed a course of physical and/or occupational therapy. However, this therapy is often brief or limited to a few visits. Thus, the therapy is often focused on teaching the patient how to live with or accommodate their limitations, rather than regaining function in the weakened limb. For many years, therapists believed that patients reached a “plateau” in their recovery from neurological catastrophe, a point after which they would no longer be able to regain significant function.

However, over the past decade researchers have learned more about how the nervous system and brain function in the aftermath of a neurological condition or event. A category of medical therapy termed neurostimulation has become one of the fastest growing areas of the medical device industry.  Used to treat a number of disorders including chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, paralysis, epilepsy, obesity, and depression, neurostimulation is a therapeutic, low level of electrical stimulation also used to treat medical conditions affecting different parts of the central nervous system.

Now, a recent advance in the field of neurostimulation offers hope for those suffering from mobility issues following certain neurological conditions or events. Bioness Inc., (Valencia, California), has developed two devices that leverage a concept called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to improve mobility in patients over time. Bioness’s devices are externally-worn neurostimulation systems designed to restore function and provide recovery in individuals who suffer post-stroke paralysis, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), or multiple sclerosis (MS). The NESS L300™ Foot Drop System is designed to target the roughly 2.5 million individuals in the United States who suffer from foot drop. The NESS H200® Hand Rehabilitation System is designed for the roughly 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. who suffer from upper extremity hemiparalysis often caused by stroke, TBI, and SCI.  The components of these neuromodulation devices are described and demonstrated at

Bioness, a non-invasive, advanced neuroprosthesis for the treatment of foot drop or hand rehab, is now available through Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital (RCPRH) physical therapy and occupational therapy program.


Key benefits for the Bioness foot drop system include:

  • Facilitation of a more normal gait
  • Muscle re-education
  • Prevention/retardation of disuse atrophy
  • Maintenance/increase of joint range of motion
  • Increase in local blood circulation

Key benefits for the Bioness hand rehabilitation system include:

  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Prevention/retardation of disuse atrophy
  • Reduction of muscle spasm
  • Maintenance/increase of joint range of motion
  • Increase in local blood circulation
  • Enhancing hand function

For more information on Bioness, please call 864-455-8788 or click here to learn more.