The Efficacy of Motor Imagery in Restoring Gait and Balance in the Older Adult
Objective, The purpose of this study is to identify the benefit of motor imagery in improving gait and balance deficits in a geriatric patient.
Methods, A 91 year old female, living in assisted living of a skilled nursing facility in central North Carolina was recruited as the subject for this study. She was assessed for baseline and progress via the following outcome measurements: Timed Up and Go (TUG), the Tinetti Oriented Performance Mobility Assessment (POMA), Short-Form Berg Balance test (Berg), Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale, and the Short-Form 12 (SF- 12). Following baseline testing, the participant was scheduled for intervention sessions 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Interventions consisted of the reading of a motor imagery script for rehabilitating walking and balance skills. Midway through the study, the participant was diagnosed with sciatica and her intervention sessions were interrupted.
Discussion, Despite the participant's diagnosis, her follow-up testing results demonstrated improvements from both original baseline and new baseline testing after sciatica flare-up in the POMA (pre 23, sciatica baseline 22, post 24), Berg (pre 16, sciatica baseline 11, post 28), and the TUG (pre 17.63 sec, sciatica baseline 19.12 sec, post 17.26 sec). These results demonstrate that MI has the potential to improve gait and balance dysfunction. Of unique interest and special note is that our participant continued to make functional gains despite natural complications to her overall health and wellness, unrelated to any adverse effects from MI.