Sensory interventions on motor function, activities of daily living, and spasticity of the upper limb in people with stroke: A randomized clinical trial.

Maryam, D., Parvin, R., Hossein, B., Jalili, M. & Hosein, T. (2020). Sensory interventions on motor function, activities of daily living, and spasticity of the upper limb in people with stroke: A randomised clinical trial.  Journal of Hand Therapy, Jun 18;S0894-1130(20)30076-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2020.03.028. Online ahead of print.

The Skinny:

  • Stroke is the second cause of death, leading to sensory impairments and motor problems.  
  • The purpose of this study was to determine if proprioceptive and exteroceptive stimulation would improve outcomes for spasticity and activities of daily living (sensory stimulation activities for stroke patients) compared to traditional therapy in chronic stroke patients (hand therapy for stroke patients).  
  • Participants were randomly assigned to two groups 

Intervention (Group 1):

  • Exteroceptive exercises Included: Facilitatory or inhibitory techniques, fast brushing, stretch pressure, icing,
  • Proprioceptive Stimulation: Weight-bearing, heavy joint compression, and stretch pressure 
  • Traditional therapy

Control (Group 2) :

  • Traditional therapy

In the Weeds:

  • A single-blinded clinical trial comparing the effect of exteroceptive and proprioceptive stimulations in people who have suffered from a stroke.  Sixty patients who were are least 6 months post-stroke were divided into two groups intervention (group one) and control (group 2).  
  • Patients attend therapy 4 days per week for 45-minute sessions for 6 weeks. 
  • Outcome measures included the Modified Ashworth Scale, Fugl-Meyer assessment of Motor Recovery after Stroke, and Barthel Index.  These were completed pre and post-study.

Bringing It Home:

  •  Patients in the intervention group showed improvements in motor function, activities of daily living, and improvement in spasticity compared to the control group.    Adding proprioception and exteroceptive stimulation can improve motor function and ADLs even in chronic stroke patients.   These can be added to your traditional therapy regimes.  


  • 4/5
  • Limitations: The article did not give a definition of traditional therapy.  The sample size is fairly small in number.  Long-term follow-up is unknown which would be helpful in determining if the interventions improved long terns outcomes.   

Leave a Comment

More To Read

Orthotic Options for Hand Burns

January 17, 2021

By: Sophia Grimm Hand burns can be very challenging to treat, and successful rehabilitation begins early after acute injury. Following a burn injury, scar contractures are the primary reason for the deformity of the hand. Therefore, proper orthotic intervention is key to preventing joint and ligament contractures (Kelly, Berenz & Williams, 2019). Splinting goals following…

Read More

Putting Occupation in Hand Therapy

February 5, 2019

It was early in my career, maybe a year out of school. I was working with a veteran physical therapist that had been practicing for thirty plus years. She was somewhat intimidating and one of those old school physical therapists that thrived on being aggressive. We were chatting about what areas of occupational hand therapy…

Read More

How much pain should a patient have during and after therapy?

February 9, 2020

How much pain should a patient have during and after therapy? As we all know pain is somewhat subjective.  It can be hard to determine how much pain a patient should experience with the type of injury as well as the type of therapy intervention and hand pain treatment.  The saying of “no pain, no…

Read More

Sign-up to Get Updates Straight to Your Inbox!

Sign up with us and we will send you regular blog posts on everything hand therapy, notices every time we upload new videos and tutorials, along with handout, protocols, and other useful information.