Post-Stroke Rehab To Regain Arm Movement
Victims of strokes are often affected by spasticity, weakness and paralysis and find it difficult to use their hand and arm. Many victims also experience stiffness along with uncontrollable muscle tightness which restricts their moment. Experts from Stroke Connect estimate that about 20 to 50% of stroke survivors will be affected by spasticity.
Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body is common among 80% of the victims. The effects are usually felt on the other side of the body from the position where the stroke occurred in the brain. Victims will need to attend stroke rehab and work with a healthcare team in order to regain use of their arm.
Stroke Rehab Generally Begins Right Away
Rehabilitation after a stroke begins after the condition of the patient has stabilized which can be as early as 24 to 48 hours after the stroke. The chances of a full recovery are quite higher when customized therapy is provided in the early stages. The patient will need to continue rehabilitation after being discharged from the hospital at a nursing facility, an inpatient or an outpatient clinic. Some victims will continue to suffer from some disability while others will fully recover.
Range Of Motion Can Be Improved With Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises promote the blood flow and make it easier for the victim to move their arm. The therapist will begin gently by stretching the hand of the patient, arm and shoulder in a full range of motion. The therapist can also provide information about how to use the unaffected hand gently by stretching the wrist, fingers, and thumb on the affected hand.
Exercises Will Be Advised To Build Strength
It will be impossible to improve grip and develop the ability to use the hand unless the patient also indulges in some muscle strengthening exercises which will be advised by the therapist.
Beginning with the arm exercises early will require the patient to hold their weak arm with the strong one and rock it back-and-forth just as they were holding a baby. After the patient gains some strength and mobility he or she can use squeeze balls, hand weights, wrist weights and any other devices to build muscle and to tone them.
Electrical Stimulation Therapy
A stroke interferes with the ability of the brain to direct messages to the nerves in the muscles. This deficiency makes it difficult for patients to control their hand and arm movement. An effective method to stimulate the nerves which is also quite safe is electrical stimulation which makes the muscles contract. Electrical stimulation has the potential to help the patient regain control over their limb, reduce pain, spasticity and improve muscle tone.
Practicing Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are defined as small and precise movements which are made with the hand and fingers. These tasks will be taught to the patient by asking them to develop this skill by tracing designs with a pen, shuffling a pack of cards or collecting small beans from the floor and putting them in a cup. Patients are required to continue exercises for stroke rehab because repeating the exercise will only assist their recovery.
Oral Medications For Dealing with Spasticity
Along with physical exercises and stretching, doctors might also advise drug therapy for spasticity. An oral muscle relaxant medication can help reduce large areas of spasticity which may be causing the muscles to contract. However, it is possible that the medications may cause certain side effects in the form of drowsiness and weakness. Patients are advised to talk with their doctor or their pharmacist to understand the oral medications advised to them more.
Spasticity Also Receives Assistance From Injections
Selected areas of the body may benefit from targeted therapy in the form of injections. The doctor treating the patient may use injections which are available to block the release of nerve chemicals to the affected muscles and restrict them from contacting the muscles. The effects of these treatments generally last for about 3 to 6 months and patients can feel certain side effects which can include soreness, fatigue, muscle weakness, swelling and pain.
A number of treatments have been developed for stroke patients along with the stroke rehab we have spoken in this article. Surgical procedures are also available for patients that are looking to improve their hand functionality faster if they have suffered a severe stroke. Apart from the regular therapy which is provided to the patient he or she will also be given an opportunity to relearn the skills of life which they would’ve lost after the stroke.
Therapists and doctors will be making all attempts to ensure that the patient receives appropriate stroke therapy. However, it is the responsibility of the patient to understand that the biggest gains they can make are doing the initial three months after the stroke. Patients should be determined to continue stroke rehab because it is their best opportunity to lead a normal life all over again.
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