More than half of the 730,000 Americans who suffer a stroke each year lose at least some use of one of their arms. Constraint-induced movement therapy, or CI therapy, forces stroke patients to use their weaker hand by wearing a mitt on their good hand.
"It's a visual reminder and a physical reminder that, you know, you do not default to the unaffected hand," stroke survivor Steve Staton said.
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta studied more than 200 stroke patients across the country. Half received CI therapy for six hours a day for two weeks, while the rest received traditional treatments.
The CI group saw 24 percent improvement in performing 30 different tasks and a 65 percent improvement in the quality of movement, the researchers reported in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The improvements were still there a year later, according to the study.
"We believe this study justifies providing more constraint-induced movement therapy, both in the clinic and the home environment," said Steven Wolf, a physical therapist at Emory.
For more information about where CI therapy is offered, call