For many patients who have experienced a stroke, multiple sclerosis or neurological disease, fine motor skills are often compromised. In particular, hand function is often impacted.
Typically, therapeutic treatment consists of repetitive tasks to regain coordination in the hand. And now, new technology has provided another approach to rehabilitation therapy.
A new FDA approved device, MusicGlove, utilizes a music-based, interactive game to help improve hand function. Regaining hand functions can be a challenge for some, but game-based therapy activities like MusicGlove can help make the therapy fun and engaging.
MusicGlove is integrated into existing rehabilitation programs already set in place by occupational and physical therapists. It allows patients to complete a great therapy session without feeling like they are doing repetitive exercise.
Users play multiple songs on various levels by making specific hand movements along with scrolling notes on a screen they are watching. The music notes are timed to the beat of fun and upbeat songs, which give patients the opportunity to practice opposition and grasps such as (but not limited to) pincer and key pinch grip.
Both the pincer grasp and key pinch grip are vital to regaining the ability to use the hand for daily living and everyday activities. The pincer grasp is when a person puts their index finger and thumb together to do tasks that require picking up an object. The key pinch grip allows people to complete tasks like turning a doorknob or hold on to a key. Basically, MusicGlove helps with all of the tasks that our hands complete on a daily basis that those who have not experienced neurological injury tend to take for granted.
In addition to fun and engaging activities, many patients respond well to exercises that help them track their progress and see improvement, as well as receive immediate feedback for their performance.
Timed MusicGlove sessions offer patients an immediate reward because the technology provides feedback of their timing of the pinch during each song. The software also includes an analytics platform, which gives therapists the opportunity to track the amount of use and improvements over time. This information can be shared with patients to help them see their ongoing progress.
Occupational therapists are seeing that patients using MusicGlove and other game-based therapies are engaged the entire length of that task, as opposed to some traditional therapy tasks that aren't as fun, motivating or interactive. The music-based game offers patients a continuous task, which helps keep the patient's mind on track during their entire session.
MusicGlove is most helpful for patients who are suffering from mild or moderate hand impairment as a result of multiple sclerosis, stroke or other disability. Therapists have the ability to adjust the MusicGlove settings to fit the patient's level of function.
MusicGlove and other game-like rehab technology helps make therapy fun and engaging for patients, and the more fun it is, the more a patient is willing to participate. Seeing results is also a key driver for many patients. Improvement, even on a small scale, encourages patients to keep working toward their goals for regaining hand function.