Mental Imagery as a Tool in Physical Therapy

Drs. M. Grangeon, P. Revol, A. Guillot, G. Rode and C. Collet of  The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit at the Henry Gabrielle Hospital in Lyon, France conducted a study to see whether motor imagery could be used along with conventional therapy for patients with spinal cord injury relevant to upper limb functioning.
A participant was used where MI content was focused on  improving hand transport to reach out and grasp with tenodesis. The participant was tested before and after 15  training sessions that lasted 45 min each, three times a week for 5  weeks.
  The participant’s ability to generate MI was checked and compliance with the rehabilitation program was confirmed.  Decreased movement time and enhanced hand trajectory smoothness were still observed 3 months later, despite a slight decrease in performance.
This study therefore supported the feasibility for introducing MI in conventional therapy. Further studies should confirm the potential role of MI in motor recovery with a larger sample.
Upper limb functioning relevant to spinal cord injury is also treated with the newly innovated TUTOR system. Specifically the ARMTUTOR has the capability to enhance the intensive exercise programs necessary to restore normal functioning to those affected.
The ARMTUTOR system, as a physical therapy product, has been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the shoulder, elbow, wrist or upper extremity. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable arm brace and dedicated physical rehabilitation software. The ARMTUTOR system allows for interactive rehabilitation exercise and  a range of biomechanical evaluations including speed, passive and active range of motion and motion analysis of the upper extremity. This quantitative data allows physical and occupational therapists (PT) (OT) to customize the right exercise parameters to the patient’s movement ability and report on the patient’s exercise progress. The ARMTUTOR rehabilitation concept is based on performing controlled and repetitive exercise rehabilitation practice. It does this through the use of various games which are at a patient-customized level with real time accurate feedback on the patient’s performance.  The rehabilitation games are suitable for a wide variety of neurological and orthopedic injuries and diseases.
The games challenge the patient to perform the exercise at a customized difficulty level. This level is set by the Physiotehrapist, OT or PT and encourages the patient to do intensive repetitive exercise practice.
The ARMTUTOR allows for isolated and a combination of elbow and three directional shoulder treatments. The physical therapy solution that also includes the HANDTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR, provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patient’s exercise performance. Overall, controlled exercise of multijoints within a normal movement pattern will prevent the patient developing an undesired or compensatory joint movement pattern and this will ensure better performance of functional tasks.
The ARMTUTOR and its sister devices  are among the foremost physical rehabilitation tools and are used wordwide in hospitals and clinics. They can be used at home through telerehabilitation See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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