One of the conditions that is associated with stroke is hemiparesis, the paralysis of one side of the body. Stroke patients go through intensive rehabilitation to recover use of their limbs impacted by the stroke. A new study that came out in The Lancet used Mirror Therapy to help patients rebound and recover from the stroke.
The study had patients perform their physical therapy in front of a mirror compared to the control group that did their therapy in front of a clear plastic sheet. Although the sample was very small, overwhelmingly those patients who did their therapy in front of a mirror had greater improvements from their therapy.
By placing the patient in front of a mirror it “provides patients with proper visual input because the reflection helps the patient think tht their affected arm is moving correctly, even though it may not be, hence stimulating the brain to help wth nerve control of limb movement”. This is truly a breakthrough in therapy for stroke patients or possibly any patient suffering nerve damage where limbs are impacted.
It doesn’t take rocket science to help people recover. In this case a mirror is the factor that made all the difference. It takes ingenuity to come up with the questions. It requires that we continue the “what if” question because that’s how studies get designed…they start with a hypothesis.
Can you imagine how many patients can reduce the negative impact of stroke if they have access to this type of therapy? You need to find someone who keeps on top of this information, like me, so you increase the options you have in your life. I know it can be overwhelming, but being in the pipeline is how you will get access to the latest and greatest treatments. I would hope that a stroke patient dealing with hemiparesis would go to their neurologist and physical therapist and ask about the Mirror Therapy. It would have a big impact on your self-image and your quality of life.