Mirrored Visual Feedback, Part 2: Unique Therapies

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Contributed by our Summer 2019 Student Intern, Nicholas Weston

Mirrored Visual Feedback (MVF), also known as mirror therapy, is one of the more powerful tools our doctors at Innova Brain Rehabilitation use to reestablish connections in an injured brain. It is employed with patients who have suffered a stroke or other type of brain injury that has caused an issue with the brain’s ability to locate a body part and then develop a motor (movement) program. A mirror is positioned so that the patient sees the reflected unaffected limb, taking the place of the affected limb which is covered by the mirror. Mirror therapy tricks the brain into accepting the reflected image as the actual body part. It is as if the brain won’t recognize the altered posturing of the affected limb. This coupled with the phenomenon of “visual capture” which occurs due to the brain assigning greater significance to what we see vs the other sensory input (such as touch).

In addition to paralysis, MVF can be employed to treat many types of pain based conditions such as phantom limb syndrome and other neurologically mediated painful conditions. Even non-neurologically based problems have been successfully treated using MVF. Our doctors have the experience in the successful use of mirrored visual feedback to assist you with your issue that hasn’t responded to other treatment. 

Classically, mirror therapy has been utilized in the rehabilitation of post-stroke patients. A published study from one of the leading researchers in the field of mirror therapy showed multiple cases in which patients regained almost complete control of their affected body parts using this technique. Some of the conditions that may be helped by this therapy include:

  •       Post Stroke paralysis
  •       Hemiparesis
  •       Traumatic Brain Injury
  •       Phantom Limb Pain
  •       Sensory Loss on limbs
  •       Complex Regional Pain Syndrome(CRPS)
  •       Trigeminal Neuralgia

Mirror Therapy can be applied in many different scenarios and always on a case by case basis to make sure it is the best fit for you. If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke or other traumatic brain injury, contact us for a complimentary consultation to learn how Innova Brain Rehabilitation can help.

Resources:

Ramachandran VS, Altschuler EL. The use of visual feedback, in particular mirror visual feedback, in restoring brain function. Brain 2009 132(7):1693-1710

Further Reading:

Ramachandran, VS. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York  2011. W. W. Norton & Company

Ramachandran, VS, Rogers-Ramachandran, D. It’s All Done with Mirrors. Scientific American Mind. 2007 18(4): 16-18