Effects of Mirror Therapy in Stroke Patients With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1: A Randomized Controlled Study

Published:December 23, 2015DOI:



      To investigate the effects of mirror therapy on upper limb motor functions, spasticity, and pain intensity in patients with hemiplegia accompanied by complex regional pain syndrome type 1.


      Randomized controlled trial.


      Training and research hospital.


      Adult patients with first-time stroke and simultaneous complex regional pain syndrome type 1 of the upper extremity at the dystrophic stage (N=30).


      Both groups received a patient-specific conventional stroke rehabilitation program for 4 weeks, 5d/wk, for 2 to 4h/d. The mirror therapy group received an additional mirror therapy program for 30min/d.

      Main Outcome Measures

      We evaluated the scores of the Brunnstrom recovery stages of the arm and hand for motor recovery, wrist and hand subsections of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) and motor items of the FIM-motor for functional status, Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) for spasticity, and visual analog scale (VAS) for pain severity.


      After 4 weeks of rehabilitation, both groups had significant improvements in the FIM-motor and VAS scores compared with baseline scores. However, the scores improved more in the mirror therapy group than the control group (P<.001 and P=.03, respectively). Besides, the patients in the mirror therapy arm showed significant improvement in the Brunnstrom recovery stages and FMA scores (P<.05). No significant difference was found for MAS scores.


      In patients with stroke and simultaneous complex regional pain syndrome type 1, addition of mirror therapy to a conventional stroke rehabilitation program provides more improvement in motor functions of the upper limb and pain perception than conventional therapy without mirror therapy.


      List of abbreviations:

      CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), FMA (Fugl-Meyer Assessment), MAS (Modified Ashworth Scale), VAS (visual analog scale)
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