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

How To Do A Fast but Thorough Hand Therapy Evaluation

March 22, 2019

We don’t get a lot of time. Sometimes new patients come in unexpectedly or someone comes at the wrong time and your 1 hour block for an eval is suddenly only 30 minutes. Do you know how to get the most out of your eval time with the patient? Do you know what things are…

Read More

Taping and Thumb Arthritis: Rapid Review

April 11, 2021

Hugo, J., and Valdez, K. Mobilization with movement and elastic tape application for the conservative management of carpometacarpal joint osteoarthritis.  Journal of Hand Therapy, 28,  2015; 82-85  Practice Forum The Skinny:  The authors demonstrated a useful technique for mobilizing the thumb CMC joint followed by the application of k-tape (kt tape thumb arthritis).   In the…

Read More

Creating an Action Plan for Addressing Mental Health in the Clinic

September 13, 2020

Blog By: Rachel Reed As hand therapists, our care for our patients must be driven by the goal of treating the whole person, not just their hand or injury (Hannah, 2011). Occupational therapy is a unique profession in which we are equipped to view our patients through a holistic lens. With this lens, we are…

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.