Strength Training in Stroke patients
Two occupational therapists from University of British Columbia in Vancouver/Canada have performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials related to the subject of strength training for the arm weakness following a stroke. This type of training is considered in rehabilitation as an important intervention with the potential to improve function
Electronic databases were searched from 1950 through April 2009. Strength training articles were assessed according to outcomes: strength, upper-limb function, and activities of daily living.
The reported results which were published recently (Stroke; 2010;41:136) showed that from the 650 trials identified, 13 were included in the review, totalling 517 individuals. A positive outcome for strength training was found for grip strength and upper-limb function. No treatment effect was found for strength training on measures of activities of daily living. A significant effect for strength training on upper-limb function was found for studies including subjects with moderate and mild upper-limb motor impairment. No trials reported adverse effects.
The authors concluded that there is evidence that strength training can improve upper-limb strength and function without increasing tone or pain in individuals with stroke.