Sensory-Based Priming for Upper Extremity Hemiparesis After Stroke: A Scoping Review

Mary E. Stoykov*, Courtney Heidle, Shamshir Kang, Lisa Lodesky, Lindsay E. Maccary, Sangeetha Madhavan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensory priming is a technique to facilitate neuroplasticity and improve motor skills after injury. Common sensory priming modalities include peripheral nerve stimulation/somatosensory electrical stimulation (PNS/SES), transient functional deafferentation (TFD), and vibration. The aim of this study was to determine whether sensory priming with a motor intervention results in improved upper limb motor impairment or function after stroke. PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Web of Science, and EMBASE were the databases used to search the literature in July 2020. This scoping review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement and recommendations for the Cochrane collaboration. In total, 30 studies were included in the analysis: three studies examined TFD, 16 examined PNS/SES, 10 studied vibration, and one combined the three stimulation techniques. Most studies reported significant improvements for participants receiving sensory priming. Given the low risk, it may be advantageous to use sensory-based priming prior to or concurrent with upper limb training after stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalOTJR Occupation, Participation and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • evidence-based reviews
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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