Motor imagery is defined as a cognitive process, in which a person imagines rehearsing a task without performing the physical movement (Scandola et al., 2017). Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that motor imagery produces similar patterns of neural activation to those of motor execution, particularly in pre-motor areas such as the left intraparietal sulcus, basal ganglia and cerebellum (Scandola et al., 2017; Athanasiou et al., 2018). Neuroimaging aside, motor imagery has shown the potential to assist in motor skill learning and rehabilitation for upper limb paralysis. In particular, motor imagery stimulated cerebral reorganization and improved motor functioning in patients with stroke and Parkinson’s disease (Page et al., 2009; Sun et al., 2013). Despite increasing interest in motor imagery for rehabilitative therapy, very few studies have investigated motor imagery for SCI rehabilitation.
The methodological details and results of these studies are presented in Table 4.