Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

Children and therapists working

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) and
Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy (HABIT)

Constraint-induced movement therapy attempts to promote hand function by using intensive practice using the affected hand while restraining the less-affected hand.

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To constrain or not to constrain, and other stories of intensive upper extremity training for children with unilateral cerebral palsy. Impaired hand function is among the most functionally disabling symptoms of hemiplegia in children (also known as unilateral cerebral palsy). Evidence-based treatment approaches are generally lacking. However, recent approaches providing intensive upper extremity training appear promising. This review describes two such approaches, constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) and bimanual training (hand-arm bimanual intensive therapy, HABIT). Findings are summarized across more than 100 participants in CIMT/bimanual training studies since 1997. This review shows that:

  1. at high intensities, CIMT and bimanual training improve dexterity and bimanual upper extremity use;
  2. bimanual training may allow direct practice of functionally meaningful goals, and such practice may transfer to unpracticed goals and improve bimanual coordination;
  3. 90 hours of CIMT and bimanual training leads to greater improvements than 60 hours of the same treatments;
  4. higher doses may be required for bimanual training;
  5. increased dosing frequency and shaping may be needed for older children; and
  6. combined CIMT/bimanual approaches may be useful, but require sufficient intensity.

Together these findings suggest that dosage (treatment amount and frequency), more so than ingredients, may well be the key to successful training protocols, especially for older children. Such rehabilitation efforts should be ‘child-friendly’, and as least invasive as possible, especially because these approaches may be provided throughout development. 2011. New York.

Home Based CIMT – A parent shares her journey with home based constraint induced movement therapy

Constraint TherapyBimanual training and constraint-induced movement therapy in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a randomized trial – Comparison of CIMT and Hand-Arm Intensive Bimanual Therapy (HABIT). HABIT maintains the intensity of CIMT, but children are performing tasks using both hands. Forty-two children were divided into two groups, with one group receiving CIMT and the other group receiving HABIT. Both groups demonstrated similar improvements which were maintained at six months. Greater progress towards more self-determined goals were seen in the HABIT group. Both methods lead to similar improvements in hand function. 2011. New York.

Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) for young children with cerebral palsy: effects of therapeutic dosage. This study compared two groups of children, with one group receiving 3 hours of CIMT per day and the other group receiving 6 hours of CIMT per day. Therapy lasted 21 days. Overall, both groups showed comparable improvements at 1-week and 1-month following treatment. This study had a small sample size with 9 children per group. Future research should address long-term effects, enroll larger and more diverse number of participants, and determine if even smaller doses of daily CIMT will be just as effective. 2012. Alabama.

Modified constraint induced movement therapy enhanced by a neuro-development treatment-based therapeutic handling protocol: two case studies. 2012. North Carolina.

Bimanual training and constraint-induced movement therapy in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a randomized trial.

A Balancing Act:  Children’s Experience of Modified Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy.  Results highlight the need to achieve a balance between the frustration in modified CIMT and the motivators to sustain involvement. 2010. Australia.

Modified constraint-induced therapy for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: A feasibility study October 2007, Australia.

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in the Treatment of the Upper Limb in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. April 2007. Australia.

Cortical neuromodulation by constraint-induced movement therapy in congenital hemiparesis: an FMRI study, June 2007, Germany

Modified constraint-induced movement therapy after childhood stroke Jan. 2007, London

Intensive pediatric constraint-induced therapy for children with cerebral palsy: randomized, controlled, crossover trial Nov. 2006, Alabama

Efficacy of a child-friendly form of constraint-induced movement therapy in hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a randomized control trial. August 2006, New York

Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy on involved upper-extremity use in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy is not age-dependent. Mar. 2006, New York.

Plastic changes of motor network after constraint-induced movement therapy. April 2004. Korea.

Constraint Therapy 2Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy for children with cerebral palsy with asymmetric motor impairment Feb. 2004. Alabama.

‘Clinical experience of constraint induced movement therapy in adolescents with hemiplegic cerebral palsy–a day camp model’. May 2003. Eliasson, Bonnier, Krumlinde-Sundholm. Letter.

Constraint-induced therapy for a child with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: A case report

Home forced use in an outpatient rehabilitation program for adults with hemiplegia: a pilot study. Dec. 2003. Philadelphia.

Forced use treatment of childhood hemiparesis, 2002

Forced use treatment of childhood hemiparesis, July 2002. 12 participants, ages 1 to 8 years. Louisiana.

Constraint-induced therapy for stroke: more of the same or something completely different? 2002

Stroke patients’ and therapists’ opinions of constraint-induced movement therapy