alexa Mental Imagery in Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Revi
ISSN: 2165-7939

Journal of Spine
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Research Article

Mental Imagery in Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review

Ruby Aikat1*# and Vandana Dua2#

1Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, Sector C, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070

2Neurosciences CNC Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, E-mail: [email protected]

#both the authors contributed equally

*Corresponding Author:
Ruby Aikat
Assistant Professor, Indian Spinal Injuries
Centre, Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences
Sector C, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India
Tel: +91-9911449609
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: May 04, 2016; Accepted date: June 13, 2016; Published date: June 15, 2016

Citation: Aikat R, Dua V (2016) Mental Imagery in Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review. J Spine 5:310. doi:10.4172/2165-7939.1000310

Copyright: © 2016 Aikat R, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: The immense potential of structural and functional reorganization of central nervous system i.e., neuro-plasticity following any injury serves the key mechanism behind the recovery of sensory-motor functions. One of the ways of enhancing this reorganization is through the technique of mental imagery. Mental imagery has been studied in various neurological conditions such as stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI) and has been seen to be quite effective in bringing about functional gains. But the research and literature available, particularly in SCI, is quite diverse and inconclusive. This review was, hence, conducted with the aim of understanding the concept of mental imagery and its therapeutic potential in spinal cord injury.

Method: A systematic literature search, using PRISMA 2009 guidelines, was conducted according to the set inclusion and exclusion criteria. After the initial screening, 25 articles were finally selected for the review. These were independently reviewed by two reviewers. The articles selected included mixed designs (reviews, experimental studies and observational studies) and were published between 1990- September 2014.

Results: The review revealed that the common techniques used to study mental imagery were mental chronometry, mental rotation and questionnaires. Apart from these, the vividness of imagery perceived during movement simulation were assessed using Movement Imagery Questionnaire (MIQ), MIQ-R (Revised), Kinesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire (KVIQ), Vividness of Motor Imagery Questionnaire (VMIQ), Time Dependent Motor Imagery (TDMI) screening test etc. Two types of imagery perspectives were discussed about: external (a perspective that involves primarily a visual representation of motor task, i.e., third person); and internal (involves kinesthetic and visual representation from inside, i.e., first person of the simulated movements).

Conclusion: The therapeutic benefits of mental imagery were mixed, with more weightage going towards motor recovery as compared to pain and other sensory areas. However, few questions still remained regarding the best methods of practice of mental imagery and the details of the techniques used with proper protocols.


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