Reducing Trunk Compensation in Stroke Survivors: A Randomized Crossover Trial Comparing Visual and Force Feedback Modalities

  • Bulmaro Adolfo Valdés
    Corresponding author Bulmaro Adolfo Valdés, MPE, Robotics for Rehabilitation Exercise and Assessment in Collaborative Healthcare Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 6250 Applied Science Lane, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
    Robotics for Rehabilitation Exercise and Assessment in Collaborative Healthcare Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Andrea Nicole Schneider
    Abilities Neurological Rehabilitation, Surrey, BC, Canada
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  • H.F. Machiel Van der Loos
    Robotics for Rehabilitation Exercise and Assessment in Collaborative Healthcare Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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      To investigate whether the compensatory trunk movements of stroke survivors observed during reaching tasks can be decreased by force and visual feedback, and to examine whether one of these feedback modalities is more efficacious than the other in reducing this compensatory tendency.


      Randomized crossover trial.


      University research laboratory.


      Community-dwelling older adults (N=15; 5 women; mean age, 64±11y) with hemiplegia from nontraumatic hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke (>3mo poststroke), recruited from stroke recovery groups, the research group's website, and the community.


      In a single session, participants received augmented feedback about their trunk compensation during a bimanual reaching task. Visual feedback (60 trials) was delivered through a computer monitor, and force feedback (60 trials) was delivered through 2 robotic devices.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Primary outcome measure included change in anterior trunk displacement measured by motion tracking camera. Secondary outcomes included trunk rotation, index of curvature (measure of straightness of hands' path toward target), root mean square error of hands' movement (differences between hand position on every iteration of the program), completion time for each trial, and posttest questionnaire to evaluate users' experience and system's usability.


      Both visual (−45.6% [45.8 SD] change from baseline, P=.004) and force (−41.1% [46.1 SD], P=.004) feedback were effective in reducing trunk compensation. Scores on secondary outcome measures did not improve with either feedback modality. Neither feedback condition was superior.


      Visual and force feedback show promise as 2 modalities that could be used to decrease trunk compensation in stroke survivors during reaching tasks. It remains to be established which one of these 2 feedback modalities is more efficacious than the other as a cue to reduce compensatory trunk movement.


      List of abbreviations:

      ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), FMA (Fugl-Meyer assessment), RPS (Reaching Performance Scale), UE (upper extremity)
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