Skip to content

News

How To Improve Hand Function After Stroke?

by SYREBO CARE 24 Nov 2023 0 Comments

Hand recovery after stroke can be a long process that affects many daily activities. However, we now know that recovery of hand function can continue to occur months, and even years, following stroke.

The chances of hand recovery increase with consistent practice and repetition of rehabilitation exercises. In this article we will discuss techniques to recovery after stroke and promote return of hand function.

Basic Principles Of Hand Recovery After Stroke

Hand function is often one of the slowest to recover after a stroke.Since the hands and feet are distal to (far away from) the midline of your body, this means they are also located furthest from the brain and spinal cord. This increases the distance the nerve signal must travel. After a stroke, this communication is often delayed or inhibited, leading to reduced hand function.

Additionally, hand muscles are small and tend to tire quickly. Inhibited muscle activation and reduced hand use after stroke can cause muscles to atrophy, or become smaller and weaker. This can lead to reduced hand function and extreme difficulty with fine movements.

Up to 80% of stroke survivors develop arm and hand injuries that can significantly affect performance in daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and cooking. While hand recovery after a stroke can be slow and sometimes frustrating, with continued rehabilitation, there is always hope of regaining function. To help maximize progress and functional performance, here are some basic treatment aspects of hand recovery:

Hand Rehabilitation Exercise

Rehabilitation exercise is perhaps the most crucial aspect of fine motor recovery after stroke. Practicing intentional movements of the hand is vital to help regain lost function and it is important to begin exercising as soon as possible.

Focus on practicing hand therapy exercises to improve your fine motor skills and coordination. Ideally, you can practice the exercises and skills your occupational or physical therapist suggests, or you can use our hand exercises for stroke patients.

While traditional exercise focuses on strengthening muscle groups, the main goal of hand rehab exercise after stroke is connecting the brain to the body through intentional movement. This helps promote motor relearning and improvement in performance of daily tasks.

Electrical Stimulation

Electrical stimulation uses electrical current through electrodes placed on your skin to stimulate your nerves and muscles. This treatment technique amplifies stimulation to the brain and helps enhance neuroplasticity, improving the rewiring of new motor pathways.

Electrical stimulation, a common method used to help patients recover from paralysis after stroke, can be applied to the hands, wrists and arms to promote muscle activation and stimulation. There is extensive evidence supporting the use of electrical stimulation to rehabilitate the hand after stroke. Before starting this treatment, talk to your doctor or therapist to determine if electrical stimulation is right for you.

It’s important to note that electrical stimulation is most effective when paired with rehabilitative exercise. Sometimes called functional electrical stimulation, or FES, this specific type of electrical stimulation is applied to your muscles to increase contraction while you perform a series of exercises or tasks. This maximizes muscle activation and enhances neuroplasticity, promoting recovery of fine motor skills and functional loss.

Mental Exercises

Mental practice is the art of imagining yourself performing a specific action or task. This treatment can be used to help improve motor function and is particularly helpful for stroke survivors with limited hand function. This technique can be performed before and after your regular rehabilitation exercises to enhance recovery.

Even if you have little or no hand function after a stroke, mental exercises can help your brain "rehearse" and rewire the connections needed to perform specific movements. In this way, mental exercises can engage in neuroplasticity just as much as physical exercises. This technology has been clinically proven to improve performance and is even used by professional athletes to visualize skills and successful results before competition.

Additional ways to improve hand recovery after stroke

Rehabilitation exercises, high repetition, and consistency are the three essential components of effective hand recovery after stroke. These basic principles are critical to promoting neuroplasticity and restoring hand function. Now that we have discussed the basic components of hand recovery, we will review other treatments that can improve functional outcomes after stroke.


SyreboGlove Hand Care

It's important to find hand exercises that you enjoy and can stick with to promote recovery after stroke. Sometimes, rehab exercises can feel tedious, or you may become frustrated if you hit occasional plateaus in your progress. To help achieve the high repeatability needed for hand recovery after stroke, you can try fun, high-tech equipment like Syrebo rehabilitation Glove.

Syrebo Glove is clinically proven to improve hand function in 2 weeks because it makes exercise more engaging and motivates you to complete hundreds of reps per exercise. Additionally, your treatment team may help you identify exercises that align with your hobbies or other activities you enjoy to help you stay consistent and motivated.

Mirror Therapy

Mirror therapy is another technique that can be used to maximize hand recovery after stroke, especially in individuals with minimal hand function. This is a standard hand rehabilitation method for people with severe hand paralysis and is also very effective in reducing hand clenching after a stroke.

Mirror therapy involves placing a tabletop mirror on the affected hand so that it reflects the unaffected hand. Then, perform rehabilitation exercises with your unaffected hand while you look at your reflection in the mirror, "tricking" your brain into thinking you are moving your affected hand.

This technique stimulates neuroplasticity and helps you create new neural pathways, allowing you to regain movement or fine motor skills in your affected hand. As with other techniques, repetition and consistency are necessary for mirror therapy to be an effective treatment.

This technique stimulates neuroplasticity and helps you create new neural pathways, allowing you to regain movement or fine motor skills in your affected hand. As with other techniques, repetition and consistency are necessary for mirror therapy to be an effective treatment.

How to relieve hand arthritis pain?

It’s common to experience pain in the hands that’s caused by arthritis. It’s most often the result of a loss of cartilage that can leave bone rubbing on bone, or what’s called osteoarthritis. Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis (resulting from the skin disease psoriasis) that leads to swollen fingers and toes can also be to blame.

While some are able to handle a mild degree of discomfort, arthritis in the hands is frequently more than a fleeting annoyance, and it can even lead to hand deformity if left untreated. As pain becomes more regular and severe, it can affect a person’s ability to do everything from activities they enjoy – like golf or other forms of recreation – to those things they need to do just to get through the day, from buttoning a shirt to gripping a cup of coffee in the morning.

Fortunately, there are ways you can ease arthritis-related hand pain, including:
  • Rest and modifying activities.
  • Splinting.
  • Heat and cold.
  • Medication.
  • Injections.
  • Surgery.

Rest and Modifying Activities

Some of this – like giving your hands a break when they hurt – is intuitive, at least to a degree. But it’s a balance, since you can’t always seek to avoid using your hands when they hurt.You want to make sure to maintain suppleness in your fingers, because losing motion is a consequence that can be hard to correct and can have long-term consequences for folks, it’s most important to rest arthritic hands or make accommodations when arthritis flares, but when it settles down, maintain your motion; restore your strength; resume activities.

Besides doing less pinching or grasping of objects when arthritis pain is at its worst, aim for more comfortable workarounds. To make working in the kitchen easier, for example, the Arthritis Foundation suggests replacing heavy stoneware with pots and pans that are lighter to using ergonomically designed kitchen tools like a rocker, and using assistive devices like an electric can and jar opener, among other accommodations.

Splinting

An extension – in more ways than one – of the rest approach, using splints or braces made of materials ranging from neoprene to metal can stabilize arthritic joints. Besides relieving pain, this approach may allow you to continue with some activities even while a splint is on.

So if you have arthritis at the base of your thumb, put you in a splint that holds your thumb – at least that base of your thumb. But even as it keeps this in place, he notes the splint “still gives you the tip of your thumb and your fingers, and basically the splint reminds you not to grab things hard and lift heavy things with your hands.If you’re using a splint and you no longer need it, don’t become dependent on it.

Heat and Cold

One of the first line treatments for osteoarthritis – including that which affects the wrists and hands – is to apply heat or ice to reduce pain and swelling. This can also help with hand pain from other sources or decrease inflammation related to a new joint injury.

Medication

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil), are a good place to start. If your primary arthritis is in the hand, and you take an anti-inflammatory, it should reduce inflammation in those joints and allow you to keep functioning – if the arthritis is mild.

However, all medications – even OTC drugs – carry side effects; and taking them on an ongoing basis can increase the risk of adverse events. Long-term use of NSAIDs is associated with a higher risk for serious side effects like ulcers and even heart attack. And some people are advised not to take drugs like aspirin either if they’re already on blood thinners, since taking both could increase their risk for bleeding.

Injections

When other approaches to managing arthritic pain aren’t sufficient, some patients may see an orthopedic specialist to get injections – commonly, of cortisone – into the affected joint.

That relieves the inflammation in the joint, which will decrease pain, it doesn’t replace the cartilage lost or the bone-on-bone rubbing that occurs with osteoarthritis. But for many people, that will, temporarily or long term, relieve the painful symptoms and allow them to return to what they want to do.

Surgery

For a small but still significant minority of patients, surgery may eventually be recommended. joint replacement surgery is sometimes done in larger knuckles, such as those located at the base of the finger where they meet the rest of the hand, or the metacarpophalangeal joint. That's an option when other approaches, like rest, anti-inflammatory medication and injections don’t do the trick, and surgery is considered.

The point is that while some discomfort in the hands related to arthritis is common with age, that doesn’t mean you have to accept pain that keeps you from doing what you want – and need – to do. In most cases, clinicians say, there are viable options to ultimately get a handle on it.

New Advances in Stroke Treatment Expected by 2023

Stroke, a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, can have devastating consequences if not treated promptly. However, medical advancements are continuously being made to improve stroke treatment and outcomes. By 2023, several promising developments in stroke treatment are expected to revolutionize patient care. Let's explore some of these exciting advancements:

1. Thrombectomy Devices: Thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove blood clots from blocked blood vessels in the brain. In 2023, we anticipate the introduction of more advanced thrombectomy devices that will enhance clot removal efficiency and reduce the time required for the procedure. These devices will improve patient outcomes and increase the number of patients eligible for thrombectomy.

2. Neuroprotective Therapies: Researchers are actively exploring neuroprotective therapies that aim to minimize brain damage during a stroke. By 2023, we expect to see the development of new drugs and treatments that can protect brain cells from the harmful effects of stroke, potentially reducing long-term disabilities.

3. Telestroke Services: Telestroke services have gained significant importance, particularly in remote or underserved areas. These services enable healthcare professionals to remotely assess and treat stroke patients using telecommunication technology. By 2023, advancements in telestroke technology will likely improve accessibility to specialized stroke care, allowing more patients to receive timely treatment regardless of their geographic location.

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Stroke Diagnosis: AI has the potential to revolutionize stroke diagnosis by rapidly analyzing medical images and identifying early signs of stroke. By 2023, AI algorithms are expected to become more sophisticated, assisting healthcare providers in making accurate and timely diagnoses. This technology will help streamline the diagnostic process, enabling faster interventions and better patient outcomes.

5.Rehabilitation Techniques: Rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of stroke recovery. In 2023, we anticipate the development of innovative rehabilitation techniques such as virtual reality-based therapies and brain-computer interfaces. These advancements will enhance neuroplasticity and facilitate better recovery, allowing stroke survivors to regain lost motor skills and improve their quality of life.Syrebo offers professional rehablitation techniques and we focus on developing and providing HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE, and LIFE-CHANGING home rehabilitation solutions for individuals suffering from impaired mobility and function.

It's important to note that while these advancements hold great promise, they will still require rigorous testing, regulatory approvals, and proper implementation to ensure safe and effective use. Nonetheless, the future of stroke treatment looks promising, and by 2023, these developments have the potential to significantly improve the management and outcomes of stroke patients worldwide.

On the road to recovery, Syrebo Care is always your best companion!
Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

this is just a warning