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How will CIMT help?

Constraint induced movement therapy (“CI Therapy”, “CIMT”) has many significant benefits which have been proven through research and use of CIMT in clinic settings. People who have participated in CIMT often report that it has had a positive impact on their function and quality of life.

The benefits of constraint induced movement therapy for the arm and hand include:

  • Improved range of movement
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Increased amount of use of weaker arm
  • Improved quality of movement
  • Increased motivation to use the weaker arm in function
  • Reduced neglect of the weaker arm
  • Improved resting position of joints
  • Decreased reliance on external devices, eg splints
  • Improved independence in everyday tasks
  • Improved quality of life

It is important to note that constraint induced movement therapy cannot restore an arm and hand to the same level as the unaffected side. Though the improvements can be significant and have a lasting change on the child’s functional abilities, there will still be some deficits in their upper limb resulting from the original neurological injury.

The improvements that can be made with constraint induced movement therapy will depend on several factors:

How much movement is initially available: Constraint induced movement therapy has been shown to achieve similar degrees of improvement in adults, no matter what their age, neurological injury or how much time has passed since the injury. However, the amount of movement that is initially available will determine how far you will likely progress. For example, if you started with a very small amount of movement and significant problems with spasticity and tone you will still make a similar degree of improvement to a person who started with a lot of movement, but you will probably not finish with the same level of ability as them.

Your CIMT therapist will carry out an in-depth assessment of your hand and arm prior to a CIMT Programme and will provide guidance as to what sort of changes to expect based on their findings. A minimum amount of movement in the wrist and fingers is required to take part in a CIMT programme. To find out more, go to who is suitable.

Engagement within / outside of therapy: The more effort you are able to put into therapy sessions, the more improvements you are likely to make. Additionally, the activities you continue with outside of therapy sessions during the programme will maximise the treatment.

CIMT is an intensive programme and requires a lot of work and dedication. Your CIMT therapist will advise you of what to expect beforehand, and during the assessment they will look for possible barriers such as extreme fatigue, pain or any cognitive problems that may impact on your ability to participate fully in a CIMT programme.

It is recommended to have someone to support you during the programme as you will need extra help while wearing the restraint mitt. Your CIMT therapist will provide your supporter with guidance as to how they can best assist in the programme.

The constraint mitt used during physical task with patient

How long will the changes last?: Studies in adults have shown that the benefits from a constraint induced movement therapy programme have continued long after the programme has completed. Some studies have followed up adults several years after the programme and found the improvements have remained.

A key element to your success is how much you are able to engage in the therapy sessions and practice tasks at home. After the CIMT programme your therapist will provide you with recommendations for continuing practice, to build on the skills you have developed.

Overall, constraint induced movement therapy has been shown to have significant impact on the level of activity and function in an upper limb affected by a neurological condition. Each CIMT programme is tailored specifically to you and your individual goals, so your therapist will discuss with you in depth what they expect to gain from a programme.

To find out more about the benefits of CIMT please call 0330 223 0077 today to speak to one of our specialist CIMT therapists.

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Are the results only short term?

Research has shown changes have continued months or even years after treatment. The aim of CIMT is to produce meaningful results that are lasting.

With the new activity gained through a CIMT Programme, the affected arm can be used in day-to-day function, meaning those changes continue to be utilised. CIMT is designed to be one block of treatment with life-long gains.

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What's the evidence?

CIMT has a broad range of research studies behind it. Visit our evidence base for more information.

CIMT patient looks through magazine as part of his therapy

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CIMT is cruel... isn't it?

No! The principle of CIMT is for the child to have a positive experience in using their arm.

CIMT sessions are designed to be fun and enjoyable – it wouldn’t work if it was upsetting. Have a look at our patient stories to see how children react to CIMT.

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Call Our Helpline Today

Call us on 0330 223 0077 or email to speak to one of our specialist CIMT therapists.