To evaluate the effects of neck-muscle vibration for 5 min before occupational therapy (OT) on unilateral spatial neglect (USN).
In this multiple-baseline design study for 6 weeks (A1?B?A2 design: A1, A2; conventional OT without neckmuscle vibration, B; neck-muscle vibration before OT together with conventional OT), we examined 11 right braindamaged patients in the post-acute phase of stroke who showed USN. Sessions A1 and A2: conventional OT for 40 min once daily for 5 days a week. Session B: the left posterior neck muscles of the patient were subjected to vibration for 5 min, without confirming the appearance of a kinaesthetic illusion, immediately before OT, and then the same OT programme as in sessions A1 and A2 was performed. Each session lasted 2 weeks. USN and activities of daily living (ADL) were evaluated at 2-week intervals by the Behavioural Inattention Test (BIT) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM), respectively.
Significant increases in the total scores in both the conventional subtest and behavioural subtest of the BIT were only seen during session B. FIM scores increased significantly during both sessions A1 and B.
The application of neck-muscle vibration before OT may have positive effects on USN, but the specific effect on the improvement of ADL is not clear.