Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation

Upper Extremity Interventions

Norine Foley MSc, Swati Mehta PhD (cand.), Jeffrey Jutai PhD, Elizabeth Staines MSc, Robert Teasell MD
Repetitive/task specific training, constraint-induced movement therapy, physical therapy, spasticity, botulinum toxin, robotics, electrical stimulation, TENS, FES, EMG, mental imagery, virtual reality, sensorimotor, hand splinting, hand edema

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Upper Extremity Interventions


Upper extremity complications are common following stroke and may be seriously debilitating. Regaining mobility in the upper extremities is often more difficult than in lower extremities, which can seriously impact the progress of rehabilitation. A large body of research exists around upper extremity complications but debate continues regarding the timing of treatment and adequate prognostic factors.

This review provides current information regarding upper extremity interventions. Topics include robotic devices for movement therapy, virtual reality technology, spasticity treatment, EMG/biofeedback, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, functional electric stimulation, and hand edema treatment. Neurodevelopmental upper extremity therapy techniques are reviewed along with repetitive/task-specific training, sensorimotor interventions, hand splinting and constraint induced movement therapy.

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