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The Mirror Therapy Program Enhances Upper-Limb Motor Recovery and Motor Function in Acute Stroke Patients

Lee, Myung Mo MS, PT; Cho, Hwi-young MSc, PT; Song, Chang Ho PhD, PT

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: August 2012 - Volume 91 - Issue 8 - p 689–700
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31824fa86d
CME Article • 2012 Series • Number 6

Objective The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the mirror therapy program on upper-limb motor recovery and motor function in patients with acute stroke.

Design Twenty-six patients who had an acute stroke within 6 mos of study commencement were assigned to the experimental group (n = 13) or the control group (n = 13). Both experimental and control group members participated in a standard rehabilitation program, but only the experimental group members additionally participated in mirror therapy program, for 25 mins twice a day, five times a week, for 4 wks. The Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Brunnstrom motor recovery stage, and Manual Function Test were used to assess changes in upper-limb motor recovery and motor function after intervention.

Results In upper-limb motor recovery, the scores of Fugl-Meyer Assessment (by shoulder/elbow/forearm items, 9.54 vs. 4.61; wrist items, 2.76 vs. 1.07; hand items, 4.43 vs. 1.46, respectively) and Brunnstrom stages for upper limb and hand (by 1.77 vs. 0.69 and 1.92 vs. 0.50, respectively) were improved more in the experimental group than in the control group (P < 0.05). In upper-limb motor function, the Manual Function Test score (by shoulder item, 5.00 vs. 2.23; hand item, 5.07 vs. 0.46, respectively) was significantly increased in the experimental group compared with the control group (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found between the groups for the coordination items in Fugl-Meyer Assessment.

Conclusions This study confirms that mirror therapy program is an effective intervention for upper-limb motor recovery and motor function improvement in acute stroke patients. Additional research on mirror therapy program components, intensity, application time, and duration could result in it being used as a standardized form of hand rehabilitation in clinics and homes.

From the Department of Physical Therapy, Sahmyook University College of Health Science, Seoul, Korea.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Dr. Chang Ho Song, PhD, PT, Department of Physical Therapy, Sahmyook University College of Health Science, 26-21, Gongneung2-dong, Nowon-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 139-742.

CME Objectives: Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to (1) recognize medical conditions that may respond to mirror therapy as a treatment modality, (2) recognize the role of mirror therapy as an intervention for increasing upper-limb motor recovery and motor function in patients with acute stroke, and (3) direct the use of mirror therapy for upper-limb rehabilitation in stroke patients.

Disclosures: Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.