Strokes lead to different levels of disability. During the chronic stage, hemiparesis, spasticity and motor deficits may cause loss of functional independence. Mirror therapy aims to reduce deficits and increase functional recovery of the impaired upper limb. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of mirror therapy on upper limb spasticity and motor function, as well as its impact on functional independence in chronic hemiparetic patients.
In this quasi-experimental study, eight chronic hemiparetic patients (age 55.5 ± 10.8 years) were assessed to determine their degree of spasticity (Modified Ashworth Scale), level of upper limb motor function (Fugl-Meyer Assessment) and functionality (Functional Independence Measure). All participants received 12 sessions of mirror therapy delivered three times per week, over a period of 4 weeks. Participants were re-evaluated post-intervention and these results were compared to their pre-intervention scores to determine the impact of mirror therapy.
A decrease in spasticity was observed, with significant improvements in shoulder extensors (P=0.033) and a significant increase in motor function (P=0.002). The therapeutic protocol adopted did not have a significant effect on functional independence (P=0.105).
Mirror therapy led to improvements in upper limb spasticity and motor function in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients. No effects on functional independence were observed. Further research with a larger number of patients is needed to provide more robust evidence of the benefits of mirror therapy in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients.
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