361: Mirror therapy improves motor function after stroke

September 16, 2012

PEARLS 361, July 2012, written by Brian R McAvoy.

Clinical question: How effective is mirror therapy for improving motor function, activities of daily living, pain and visuospatial neglect in patients after stroke?

Bottom line: When compared with all other interventions, mirror therapy improved movement of the affected limb and the ability to carry out daily activities. It also reduced pain after stroke, but only in patients with a complex regional pain syndrome. The beneficial effects on movement were maintained for 6 months, but not in all study groups. No adverse side effects were reported.

Caveat: Limitations included the small sample sizes of most studies, and control interventions that were not used routinely in stroke rehabilitation.

Context: Mirror therapy is used to improve motor function after stroke. Dur.ing mirror therapy, a mirror is placed in the patientÕs mid-sagittal plane, thus reflecting movements of the non-paretic side as if it were the affected side.

Cochrane Systematic Review: Thieme H et al. Mirror therapy for improving motor function after stroke. Cochrane Reviews, 2012, Issue 3. Article No. CD008449. DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD008449.pub2. This review contains 14 studies involving 567 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.