Parkinson's disease is a progressive condition affecting the control of movement as a result of reduced production and uptake of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical known as a neurotransmitter which aids transmission of nerve impulses in the body. As a result of declining dopamine levels movements become slower and more difficult and the limbs may have increased rigidity or stiffness. Coordination of movement may also be affected causing difficulties carrying out everyday tasks such as eating or drinking, dressing, writing or picking up objects.
Constraint induced movement therapy (“CI Therapy” or “CIMT”) is a treatment technique used for improving arm and hand function in people with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease. CIMT aims to improve hand and arm function in people with Parkinson's disease who have difficulties with fine movements, dexterity and grip strength in one of their arms. When faced with movement difficulties many people with Parkinson's disease will adopt coping strategies. In the upper limb this may involve compensation by using the less affected or stronger arm to complete tasks. Patients may use their weaker arm less frequently and as a result the arm becomes weaker; this is known as learned non-use.