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Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT)

CIMT: What is it?

Here at One Step Ahead Mobility, we have two CIMT-qualified neurological physiotherapists. In fact, we are one of only a handful of clinics to offer this program in Canada. 

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) is a rehabilitation technique used primarily for stroke survivors or individuals with limited mobility due to conditions like cerebral palsy or traumatic brain injury.

The core principle of CIMT is to constrain the movement of the unaffected limb (usually the stronger limb) while intensively training and encouraging the use of the affected limb. This approach aims to overcome learned non-use, a phenomenon where individuals rely excessively on their less affected limb, leading to neglect or reduced use of the affected one.

How does CIMT work?

Constraint: The unaffected limb is constrained using a mitt, sling, or other devices, preventing its use for a set period. This restriction forces the affected limb to perform everyday tasks.

Intensive Training: During this constraint period, the individual undergoes intensive training and practice using the affected limb. The therapy involves repetitive and functional tasks designed to improve movement, strength, and coordination.

Behavioral Techniques: CIMT often incorporates behavioral techniques to encourage and motivate the use of the affected limb, aiming to break the pattern of non-use. This could involve setting goals, providing positive reinforcement, and promoting self-efficacy.

CIMT is conducted under the supervision of trained therapists and tailored to each person's specific needs and abilities. Research has shown that CIMT can lead to significant improvements in motor function and daily activities for many individuals, especially when combined with other rehabilitation strategies that harness neuroplasticity.

However, CIMT might not be suitable for everyone. Factors like the severity of impairment, cognitive abilities, and overall health can influence its effectiveness. 

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