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A study to compare the effectiveness of mirror therapy and neuromuscular electrical stimulation on upper-extremity motor recovery, motor function, and quality of life in subacute stroke subjects: A randomized controlled trial

 Department of Physiotherapy, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, Sikkim, India

Correspondence Address:
Priyanka Singh,
Associate Professor Sikkim Manipal College of Physiotherapy, Sikkim Manipal university, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok 737 102, Sikkim
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_191_19

Objective: Mirror therapy (MT) and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) are both effective treatments for impaired upper limbs following stroke. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of the MT and NMES on upper-limb motor recovery, motor function, and quality of life in subacute stroke patients. Materials and Method: Forty poststroke patients within 1 month of duration were assigned to the MT group (n = 20) or the NMES group (n = 20). Both the MT group and NMES group received the same conventional rehabilitation programs and additionally had each of their own therapies for 30 min, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. The action research arm test (ARAT), Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), Modified Ashworth scale (MAS), and Modified Barthel index (MBI) were used as an outcome measure to assess changes in upper-limb motor recovery and motor function at pre- and postintervention. Health-related quality of life was assessed by stroke-specific quality of life (SS-QOL) questionnaire at pre- and postintervention. Results: At the baseline, patients of both the groups showed no significant differences regarding ARAT, FMA, MAS, MBI, and SS-QOL scores, but after 3 weeks of intervention, patients of both the group showed statistically significant improvements in all the variables measured (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The present study confirms that MT and NMES are both effective treatment techniques to improve upper-extremity motor recovery, motor functioning, and quality of life in subacute stroke patients except for improvement in spasticity. However, MT is cost-effective, easy, and safe method for rehabilitation and most important can be easily administered at home by the patients.

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