[WEB SITE] Constraint therapy


Information last checked: April 2013

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) PDF 730KB

What were we asked?

A parent wanted to know if there was any evidence that constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) was effective at improving manual ability in children with hemiplegia.

What did we do?

In 2012 we searched a range of academic databases including NHS Evidence, the Cochrane Library, TRIP database, NICE guidelines and Pubmed for evidence and articles on this topic.  This search was updated in April 2013.

What did we find?

What is CIMT?

CIMT is a therapy for children with hemiplegia which involves encouraging use of the affected arm while restricting use of the unaffected arm. The initial version of CIMT involved a strict regimen. Modified versions of CIMT vary in the therapy regimen, the frequency and duration, and type of constraint.  In this summary, we use CIMT as an umbrella term to include modified versions of the therapy.

  • Different types of constraint include gloves, mitts, casts, slings or splints.  Mitts and gloves are commonly used as they restrict the unaffected arm whilst still allowing for the arm to be used in the event of a trip or fall.
  • CIMT has been carried out at home, preschool, hospital or at a designated camps, and in some cases parents and carers have been trained to deliver the therapy.
  • There are some concerns about whether constraint has a detrimental or harmful effect in the long term, and whether the ‘non-impaired’ arm is wholly unaffected.1
  • The number of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating this treatment has increased in recent years, which suggests a growing interest in the therapy.

What studies were found?

Continue —> Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit.

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