CONSTRAINT INDUCED MOVEMENT THERAPY

Constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) was developed by Edward Taub in America, he suggested that when an individual experiences weakness in an upper limb due to neurological damage, and therefore they avoid using this limb. As a result, what Taub calls ‘learned non-use’ sets in, which then contributes to the deterioration of the functional ability of the limb. The individual then experiences clumsy, ineffective and inefficient movements with the limb and eventually leads to a suppression of movement. CIMT endeavours to reverse this cycle.

CIMT is a treatment technique for children and adults who have experienced neurological damage such as unilateral Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury, Stroke etc. Complications with hand function can have implications across the board in self-care, productivity and leisure activities, including weakness, decrease sensation, spasticity, reduced grip etc. CIMT strives to increase functional use of the neurologically impaired upper limb through massed practice, while restraining the lesser involved upper limb. CIMT has been found to have major and sustained motor function outcomes when delivered as part of an occupational therapy programme. With increased evidence and clinical experience, CIMT is gaining considerable popularity as a potentially valuable treatment.

HOW DOES CIMT WORK?

The focus of CIMT is to constrain the use of the lesser affected arm, usually through the use of plaster cast, alongside an intensive occupational therapy programme using the affected arm in everyday functional activities to obtain the most effective results.

Immediately after the cast is fitted the individual will embark on an intensive treatment programme of up to three hours of occupational therapy intervention daily five days a week for a minimum of two weeks.

This intense level of Occupational Therapy is aimed at increasing the individual’s awareness of their affected upper limb; this in turn stimulates the brain to form new pathways for movement promoting positive long term effects.

Manchester Occupational Therapy Services are able to offer an initial assessment and report for the individual to determine if they would be suitable to participate in CIMT. Following this assessment the participant will have their lesser affected limb cast in a non-removable cast that maintains the limb in a static position and encompasses the fingers, wrist, elbow and upper arm.

WHAT NEXT?

For a free telephone consultation to discuss the suitability for CIMT call Manchester Occupational Therapy Services on 0161 749 7727.