Spasticity is the main culprit of stiff hands after stroke.
On the surface, spasticity seems like a problem with your muscles. While that is partially true, the root cause of spasticity is brain-muscle miscommunication. Try to remember that, as it is easy to give up with misunderstanding of the issue.
After a stroke, your muscles get tense and tight because they cannot receive signals from your brain like they once did before the stroke. So even though your brain is trying to tell your muscles to relax, your muscles can’t hear that command.
Patients that buy, and use, stroke rehabilitation equipment at home have been shown to recover more movement than sedentary patients. We've seen this first hand. But not just any rehab exercise – it has to be very repetitive. The more you repeat your exercises, the stronger your brain-muscle communication becomes.
If a stroke patient exercises daily, especially, then it will provide the brain with the stimulation necessary for recovery, and to create new nuerological pathways via neuroplasticity (Neuroplasticity is how the brain rewires itself). And the best way to engage neuroplasticity is through rehab exercise.
Written exercises alone can help, but adding useful physical stroke rehab equipment expands the type of exercises you can do. Then, after plenty of repetitive practice, the muscles in your limbs will slowly learn to open, stretch, move and relax – for good.
Whether a patient is still in the recovery stages of a recent stroke or struggling with motor deficits years later, it’s never too late or too early to start thinking about effective treatment.
Here’s a roundup of 4 of the best stroke rehab equipment we have seen, and trialled, available for use at home.
1. Stationary Exercise Bikes
Stationary bikes make excellent stroke rehab equipment because it’s bilateral exercise. This allows your non-affected side to assist the affected side to move. Bilateral training like this is therapeutic for recovering stroke survivors, build muscle and train the brain to recall movement in weak limbs.
2. Mirror Box
Mirror Box therapy is particularly useful for stroke patients struggling with hand paralysis or clenched hands after stroke. It works by placing a mirror over the affected hand and using the reflection to “trick” the brain. Even though you logically know better, it helps retrain your brain to move your affected hand.
3. Arm Peddlers
Just use the stationary bike above, on a table instead of the floor. You may need some support to keep it still, and may even want to use a bandage to 'strap' your weak hand on the pedal so it doesnt keep slipping off. Begin by using your stronger hand to start moving the pedals and try to push pressure on the weaker hand to 'push'. Repeat for at least 400 reps a day to begin with (they dont need to be in one sitting). Give yourself a few weeks of this repetition to begin to see a difference in motion.
4. Therapy Putty
Therapy putty is another popular hand therapy tool that can help improve fine motor coordination. Hand therapy putty exercises can help you regain dexterity in your hand with a simple, affordable accessory. Use it to practice therapy putty exercises to help improve your hand strength and range of motion.
If you only take away one staement from this post, let it be this:
The more repetitions you complete of therapeutic rehab exercises, the faster you’ll regain mobility.
We wish you or your loved one, a swift recovery.