Motor impairment rehabilitation post acquired brain injury Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate the efficacy of treatment strategies used to manage motor impairments following acquired brain injury (ABI) in order to provide guidance for clinical practice based on the best available evidence. METHODS AND MAIN OUTCOMES: A systematic review of the literature from 1980-2005 was conducted focusing on pharmacological, non-pharmacological, and exercise interventions available for motor impairments post ABI. The efficacy of a given intervention was classified as strong (supported by two or more randomized controlled trials (RCTs)), moderate (supported by a single RCT), or limited (supported by other types of studies in the absence of RCTs). RESULTS: Thirty-six studies examining a variety of treatment approaches for motor impairments and activity limitations following ABI were evaluated. The majority of interventions are only supported by limited evidence. However, there is strong evidence that serial casting does reduce ankle plantar contractures due to spasticity of cerebral origin, and strong evidence also suggests that partial body weight supported gait training does not provide any added benefit over conventional gait training. There is also moderate evidence to support the use of functional fine motor control retraining to improve motor coordination, tizanidine for upper and lower extremity spasticity, and specific sit-to-stand training to improve functional ability. There is also moderate evidence that casting alone is as effective as casting and Botulinum toxin injections for plantar contractures. CONCLUSIONS: Although there are a variety of treatment strategies to manage motor impairments and activity limitations following ABI, most are only supported by limited evidence pointing to the need for studies of improved methodological quality in this area.


  • Marshall, Shawn
  • Teasell, Robert
  • Bayona, Nestor
  • Lippert, Corbin
  • Chundamala, Josie
  • Villamere, James
  • Mackie, David
  • Cullen, Nora
  • Bayley, Mark

publication date

  • January 2007