[Purpose] This study compared the functional and kinematic changes associated with two rehabilitation protocols: bilateral and unilateral movement training.
[Subjects and Methods] Twenty-five patients with chronic stroke were randomly assigned to two training protocols for four weeks of training. Each training session consisted of three tasks. The tasks were performed with either the impaired and unimpaired arms moving synchronously (bilateral training) or with the impaired arm alone (unilateral training). To compare the changes associated with each rehabilitation protocol, functional and kinematic assessments were performed before and after the interventions. The functional state of each patient was measured by the Box and Block Test, and the kinematic variables were assessed by three-dimensional motion analysis. The Box and Block Test was used to assess the functional abilities of the affected upper limb. Kinematic measurements of upper limb movement were measured with a 3-dimensional motion analysis system.
[Results] Results showed that the bilateral movement group had significantly improved motion of the shoulder compared to the unilateral movement group.
[Conclusion] Bilateral movement training should be used to improve upper limb function in patients with chronic stroke.