Occupation-based intervention versus rote exercise in modified constraint-induced movement therapy for patients with median and ulnar nerve injuries: a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate effect of practice type during modified constraint-induced movement therapy on hand function in patients with chronic median and ulnar nerve injuries.

Design:

A prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trial.

Setting:

Participants’ private home.

Subjects:

A convenience sample of 36 outpatient participants allocated randomly to three equal groups.

Interventions:

Intervention groups underwent 3-hour intensive training of affected hand each day, 3-day a week, 4-week in association with immobilisation of healthy hand: occupation-based group practiced meaningful occupations while rote exercise-based group performed rote exercises during constraint-induced movement therapy. Control group performed different activities with affected hand for 1.5-hour each day during 4-week without restriction of healthy hand.

Main measures:

A blinded assessor tested Canadian occupational performance measure, box and block, Static two-point discrimination, disabilities of arm, shoulder, hand questionnaire, and self-assessment manikin in a random order across sessions 3-time as baseline (pre-test), after 4-week intervention (post-test), and 1-month after intervention period (follow up).

Results:

Scores significantly changed in intervention groups compared to control. Despite significantly more improvement in occupation-based than rote exercise-based group in subjective measures at post-test and follow up (Canadian occupational performance measure: mean change 4.7 vs. 2.1 for performance, P< 0.001 and mean change 5.3 vs. 2.6 for satisfaction, P< 0.001), it was significant just at follow up for box and block and static two-point discrimination.

Conclusions:

Practice content of constraint-induced movement therapy is a critical part of its effectiveness on improving outcomes following peripheral nerve repair in favour of occupation-based intervention in present study.

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