Bilateral movement therapy, which encourages simultaneous use of the limbs on both the affected and nonaffected sides, is known to help in motor function recovery in hemiplegic patients. However, studies on the effectiveness of bilateral arm training for improving upper limb function and activities of daily living (ADL) performance in hemiplegic stroke patients are lacking. The present study investigated the effectiveness of bilateral arm training for improving upper limb function and ADL performance in hemiplegic stroke patients.
The study included 30 hemiplegic stroke patients. The patients were randomly divided into an experimental group (n = 15) and a control group (n = 15). All patients received a uniform general occupational therapy session lasting 30 minutes 5 times a week for 8 weeks. The experimental group received an additional session of bilateral arm training lasting 30 minutes, and the control group received an additional session of general occupational therapy lasting 30 minutes. The Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), Box and Block Test (BBT), and modified Barthel index (MBI) were used for evaluation.
In both the experimental and control groups, the FMA, BBT, and MBI scores were significantly higher after the intervention than before the intervention (P < .05). The changes in the FMA, BBT, and MBI scores were greater in the experimental group than in the control group (P < .05).
Bilateral arm training along with general occupational therapy might be more effective than occupational therapy alone for improving upper limb function and ADL performance in hemiplegic stroke patients.