Biofeedback (BFB) is commonly used as a treatment intervention for stroke rehabilitation. Following a stroke, the main central motor pathways that regulate normal muscle tone and functioning can be disrupted or even damaged. However, some motor pathways that are often unused remain relatively unaffected by the stroke. Individuals may learn how to activate these unused pathways with the help of electromyographic biofeedback (EMG-BFB) and this may lead to improvements in their muscle tone and functioning. Given that hemiparesis of the upper extremity can result in functional disability following stroke and can affect important aspects of daily living (i.e. feeding and dressing), the use of EMG-BFB as an effective means of treatment for upper extremity hemiparesis has been carefully studied. Specifically, studies have examined the use of biofeedback to improve hand function as well as upper extremity range of motion and function.
Authors*: Robert Teasell, MD; Norine Foley, BASc; Sanjit Bhogal, MSc; Jamie Bitensky, MSc OT; Mark Speechley, MD; Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT
Evidence reviewed as of before 26-10-2010