Objective: To determine efficacy of a modified constraint-induced movement therapy (mCIMT) protocol for patients with chronic stroke.
Design: Multiple-baseline, pre-post, single-blinded randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Outpatient clinic.
Participants: Seventeen patients who experienced stroke more than 1 year before study entry and who had upper-limb hemiparesis and learned nonuse.
Intervention: Seven patients participated in structured therapy sessions emphasizing more affected arm use in valued activities, 3 times a week for 10 weeks. Their less affected arms were also restrained 5d/wk for 5 hours (mCIMT). Four patients received regular therapy with similar contact time to mCIMT. Six patients received no therapy (control).
Main outcome measures: The Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Motor Recovery (FMA), Action Research Arm (ARA) Test, and Motor Activity Log (MAL).
Results: The mCIMT patients exhibited greater motor changes on the FMA and ARA (18.4, 11.4) than regular therapy (6.0, 7.1) or control (-2.9, -4.5). Statistical analyses showed significant differences in motor improvement on the FMA (F(2,12)=11.2, P=.002) and the ARA (F(2,12)=14.0, P=.001). Post hoc analyses showed that, when pretreatment motor differences are controlled, mCIMT resulted in substantially higher posttreatment FMA and ARA scores. Amount and quality of arm use, measured by the MAL, improved only in mCIMT patients.
Conclusions: mCIMT may be an efficacious method of improving function and use of the more affected arms of chronic stroke patients. Findings further affirm that repeated, task-specific practice is critical to reacquisition of function, whereas practice schedule intensity is less critical.