• 23/03/2014
  • 08:11 pm
Gabbard C, Fox A. (2013) Using motor imagery therapy to improve movement efficiency and reduce fall injury risk. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies 3: 186. doi: 10.4172/2165-7025.1000186


Clinical issues

This review paper highlights current research on mental representation and motor imagery in relation to falls rehabilitation in the elderly and provides strategies for improving motor planning and reducing the risk of movement-related injuries. Whereas motor imagery practice can be a stand-alone intervention, the authors suggest that when used in combination with physical practice, the results for improved overall motor performance can be significant. With increasing age, individuals seem to have a reduced ability to mentally update their internal models and estimating possible movement outcomes resulting in dissociation between perception and action and increased risk of falls. Research carried out by the authors found that younger adults (mean age 20 years) were significantly more accurate than older adults (mean age 77 years) when estimating reach in peripersonal and extra personal space in sitting. Whereas, both groups made more errors in extra-personal space, the values were significantly higher for the older group, that is, they over estimated to a greater extent and this could be a factor in falling. The paper provides practical strategies for improving motor imagery ability in individuals aged 65 to 85 years.