What is Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy?
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT), or CI therapy, is an individual intensive treatment program that teaches the brain to “rewire” itself. This treatment model, developed by Dr. Edward Taub, is based on overcoming “learned non-use” in the weaker arm/hand and improving motor skills and coordination in this arm/hand.
An occupational therapist (OT) provides CI therapy which is a “therapeutic package” consisting of a number of different intervention techniques. Some of these techniques have been employed in traditional therapy at a reduced intensity compared to CI therapy.
CI therapy is effective in children who have limited use of one side of their body due to diagnoses such as:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Head Injury
- Brachial Plexus Injury
3 main components of CI therapy:
Repetitive, task-oriented training of the more impaired upper extremity for 3 hours a day for 15 consecutive weekdays.
Applying a “transfer package” of adherence-enhancing behavioral methods designed to transfer gains made in the clinical setting to the patients’ real world environments.
Constraining the child with a removable arm cast on the less impaired upper extremity in order to use/train the more impaired upper extremity during the course of treatment.
CIMT can help promote development of new pathways between the brain and the impaired extremity. Constraining the unimpaired extremity encourages the impaired hand to move, and over time the brain is induced to “rewire” itself. Our Occupational Therapists use behavioral techniques known as shaping, where your child is asked to repeat activities several times while gradually increasing difficulty level. Our therapists provide ample encouragement and motivation in order for your child to be successful at a specific activity.
Using this therapeutic approach is the only rehabilitation technique shown to produce a marked change in brain organization and function.
CI therapy establishes a bridge between the clinic and daily life settings. A majority of therapeutic gains made in the clinic transfer and contribute to the functional independence of the patient in real world environments.
CI Therapy Studies
- Multiple Treatments of Pediatric Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (pCIMT): A Clinical Cohort Study
- Efficacy of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy for Children With Cerebral Palsy With Asymmetric Movement Impairment
- Efficacy of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy on Involved Upper Extremity Use in Children With Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy is Not Age-Dependent