Background: Upper extremity deficits are the most popular symptoms following stroke. Task-oriented training has the ability to increase motor area excitability in the brain, which can stimulate the recovery of motor control.
Objective: This study was aimed to examine the efficiency of the task-oriented approach on paretic upper extremity following a stroke, and to identify efficient treatment dosage in those populations.
Method: We searched through PubMed, Scopus, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), National Rehabilitation Information (REHABDATA), and Web of Science databases. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and pseudo-RCTs those investigating upper extremity in patients with stroke published in English language were selected. Different scales and measurement methods to assess range of motion, strength, spasticity, and upper extremity function were considered. The quality assessment of included articles was evaluated utilizing the PEDro scale. Effect sizes were calculated.
Results: Six RCTs were included in the present study. The quality assessment for included studies ranged from 6 to 8 with 6.5 as a median. A total of 456 post-stroke patients, 41.66% of which were women, were included in all studies. The included studies demonstrated a meaningful influence of task-oriented training intervention on the hemiplegic upper limb motor functions but not spasticity post-stroke.
Conclusion: Task-oriented training does not produce a superior effect than other conventional physical therapy interventions in treating upper extremity in patients with stroke. There is no evidence supporting the beneficial effect of task-oriented on spasticity. Task-oriented training with the following dosage 30 to 90 minutes/session, 2 to 3 sessions weekly for 6 to 10 weeks may improve motor function and strength of paretic upper extremity post-stroke.