In order to ensure total focus on the affected arm and hand, you will wear a constraint mitt on your unaffected side for most of the CIMT programme. The constraint mitt is a lightweight glove that fits on your hand and wrist.
To gain the most benefit from constraint induced movement therapy you should wear the mitt for 90% of your waking hours. On the first day of your CIMT programme your therapist will go through your daily routine in detail with you to agree the specific activities when you are allowed to remove the mitt. These may include:
- Personal care activities (eg toileting, bathing)
- Dangerous activities (eg driving, tasks with sharp or hot objects)
- Activities involving water (eg showering)
A detailed list of activities will be drawn up and you will sign a contract to agree to only remove the mitt for an activity on the list. This gives you strict guidance on wearing the mitt and helps you to obtain maximum benefit from the CIMT programme.
While wearing the mitt you will find day-to-day activities more difficult. We therefore strongly recommend you complete a CIMT programme with support from a partner, family member or carer. They will be able to assist in tasks and allow you to wear the mitt for longer, which will help with your progress. Your CIMT therapist will provide guidance to your supporter on how they can help you while also promoting use of your affected side.
It is common to feel frustration while wearing the mitt. Constraint induced movement therapy is an intensive and challenging process. However, if you persevere with a CIMT programme you will make some significant improvements over a short period of time.
On completion of the programme you may take the constraint mitt with you – either to continue practice or as a memento of your hard work!