Functional Arm Exercises After a Stroke

Regular training exercises that use the arm has been considered as one of the most effective methods in the treatment of stroke. Therefore, this practice is now the key to recovery injury caused by stroke, much like practicing scales when learning a musical instrument.

To date, researchers have better understand how the brain controls movement which is set down in the brain in a functional context. Therefore, we’ve moved from treating isolated impairments of the arm to treating the arm in a functional context.

Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), which is a method of restricting the use of the unaffected hand for several hours a day by putting a mitt on it and performing tasks over and over with the affected arm, is now known as a great technique for encouraging the use of the affected arm.

The EXCITE trial, conducted at seven academic institutions between 2001 and 2003, showed that this technique promoted the use of the affected arm in people with mild to moderate stroke impairment. Improvement lasted at least two years. The techniques used in the EXCITE trial to encourage the use of the hand and arm. The activities in this method can completely do it, even with severe stroke injuries. You can try these daily activities, such as:

  • Grab the handle of the door or refrigerator. Open and close it several times.
  • Hold a plastic shopping bag with medium weight in your affected hand and carry it across the room. Practice putting something light in the bag.
  • Pull laundry out of the dryer and carry it in a small bag.
  • Replace bulbs after turning off the power, supporting them against your body with your upper and lower arm.
  • Put a soap dispenser in your unaffected hand. Then put it on the table and turn it over more than once.
  • Try to squeeze a tube of toothpaste in your affected hand while you manipulate the toothbrush with your unaffected hand.
  • Flip a light switch on and off with your affected hand (turn off the power supply to avoid electric appliances)

Other Techniques to Help With Arm Recovery

Active-passive bilateral therapy: It involves performing a task by using the non-affected and the affected hand together. It may help the two sides of the brain work better together, restoring balance and possibly improving hand function when combined with other therapy.

BATRAC (bilateral arm training with rhythmic auditory cueing): It is a form of bilateral therapy, which may also help the brain reorganize after a stroke. It uses sound cues to signal participants to start pushing or pulling on two T-bar handles. You may do this by either using both arms at the same time or by using one arm and then the other.

Robotic devices: These assist movement, achieving more consistent, measurable repetition than can be achieved with conventional therapy. In spite of not widely available, they have the potential to be a labor-saving device.

Functional electrical stimulation: This technique involves generation of an electrical current that stimulates nerve activity in limbs affected by stroke, strengthening weak or spastic muscles. This technique may be helpful for opening a contracted hand.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

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