The therapeutic role of motor imagery on the functional rehabilitation of a stage II shoulder impingement syndrome

Motor imagery (MI) has been employed as a complementary therapeutic tool for motor recovery after central nervous system disease and peripheral injuries. However, it has never been used as a preventive tool. This study investigated the use of MI in the rehabilitation of stage II shoulder impingement syndrome. For the first time, MI is used before surgery. Sixteen participants were place at random into either a MI or control group. Shoulder functional assessment (Constant score), range of motion and pain were measured prior to and following intervention. Higher Constant score was observed in the MI than in the control group (p = 0.04). Participants in the MI group further displayed greater movement amplitude (extension (p < 0.001); flexion (p = 0.025); lateral rotation (p < 0.001). Finally, the MI group displayed greater pain decrease (p = 0.01).

The study found that MI intervention appeared to alleviate pain and enhance mobility, this is probably due to changes in muscle control and consequently in joint amplitude. MI might contribute to postpone or even protect from passing to stage III that could require surgery. Adding motor imagery training to classical physical therapy in a stage II impingement syndrome. It helps in alleviating pain Enhances shoulder mobility. Motor imagery is a valuable technique that can be used as a preventive tool before the stage III of the impingement syndrome.