Deans' stroke musings

Changing stroke rehab and research worldwide now.Time is Brain!Just think of all the trillions and trillions of neurons that DIE each day because there are NO effective hyperacute therapies besides tPA(only 12% effective). I have 493 posts on hyperacute therapy, enough for researchers to spend decades proving them out. These are my personal ideas and blog on stroke rehabilitation and stroke research. Do not attempt any of these without checking with your medical provider. Unless you join me in agitating, when you need these therapies they won't be there.

What this blog is for:

Shortly after getting out of the hospital and getting NO information on the process or protocols of stroke rehabilitation and recovery I started searching on the internet and found that no other survivor received useful information. This is an attempt to cover all stroke rehabilitation information that should be readily available to survivors so they can talk with informed knowledge to their medical staff. It's quite disgusting that this information is not available from every stroke association and doctors group.
My back ground story is here:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

arm-hand stroke exercises by madfit

Madfit has posted these on several stroke forums. They are so good they need to be distributed again. You won't get something like this from your therapist so since this is a non-medical source it is not worth listening to.

When you read these you can see that she covers the therapy needed for those muscles that still partially work, and goes to passive movement to neuroplastically get functions that were in the dead area moving again. She also worked on sensations which has been proven to help movement.

Here are the exercises:
1. Take your arm, and with the other hand massage the affected arm, trying to loosen the muscles. If you keep doing this, eventually it will loosen up. In rehab this method is called Miofacial Release. The therapist did for me and I continued to do it at home. It really worked on me. Ask at Rehab if they offer it.
2. Stengthen your whole arm including your fingers, by taking a plastic grocery bag and put a few groceries, adding more and more weight when you think you can. You'll be surprised, by carrying the bag with 2 or 3 fingers, you'll see how strong both the fingers and arm become and the muscles will loosen up.
3. With the affected hand, pull the fingers on the opposite hand, one at a time, and keep stretching them out. Stretch each joint on the finger, the 3 joints on every finger. I constantly did this. My hand used to be like a claw. You should see it now. I am even touch typing this note using every finger on both hands. It takes a strong will, perseverance and a lot of work.
Take the good hand and pull on the thumb stetching it, farther and farther from the index finger. After a while, you'll notice you can separate the thumb from the index finger until it is normal like your good hand.
4. Then when you have accomplished this, just try opening and closing the fingers, over and over until they become strong.
5. Use a tight springed clothes pin, and keep pressing it open, this will also give strength to the fingers.
6. Put some small type shaped pasta or marbles in a bowl and try picking one at a time up. This gives coordination.
7. Did they give you puddy in therapy? That was also good to build strength.
8. It's very important to do exercises all the time. Just relaxing in bed, sitting in a chair or anyplace. I even used to do this when someone took me by car shopping, after a while it will be instinctive. I can personally attest to these exercises helping.
9. Use the squeeze ball method to gain strength, while watching TV, in a car, etc.
Now I touch-type, that is using both hands and all fingers, I do everything with the affected hand. The only thing I cannot do well is write. The precise coordination which is needed in the wrist I still don't have for writing. It takes alot of hard work, a strong will, and dedication every day, as well as prayers. But it does work.
I had a pretty bad stroke in October 2002, when I was 55 years old with a good job. I was totally paralyzed on my right side (leg and arm). I had about 3 months in-patient therapy, and 2 months outpatient therapy. Eventually went home in a wheelchair.
I was told I probably would walk eventually with a cane, but several doctors told me I would never have function of my right arm and hand. I told them I don't accept their prognosis. I might add that I am a right-handed person, so that made it even worse. I had to learn to write and do things with my left hand.
Hope this helps you! Good luck.


  1. Thank you for re-posting these exercises.

  2. This is great, Dean! These are the types of exercises I've been looking for.

  3. I accomplished the same thing as number 2 illustrates above. I have a Pomeranian dog. She is approximately 14 pounds. Sometimes, when the kids are particularly rough with her, my wife hooks her up to the leash, and makes me "protect her". She usually wears a four foot leash when she's in the house. She's quite mischievous. She tugs on her leash which is on my weak(affected)arm. The workout is quite invigorating. I believe it accomplishes the same thing as putting groceries in a bag.

  4. Chinese hand balls, patiently used, can be a tremendous help.

    "Chinese Health Balls got their name from the healing benefits the balls provide. For over 600 years they have been used in Chinese medicine and exercise. Your body has an internal energy called Qi, pronounced like "chi". Rotating the balls in your hands presses on the acupressure points in your hand stimulating the flow of Qi through your body."

    Whenever possible, visualize (1) your hands moving in precise, elegant and strong motions and (2) your entire body moving similarly. Awaking, before getting out of bed each morning (and/or after a nap, visualize your body as fully healed. Similarly, do the same going to sleep.

    Meditation is a very real component to any healing process. I have been in a joint project with UC San Diego and the VA, and I can rapidly reach a meditative state. So can anyone with help and regular attention: Google "a simple meditation technique" and take a pick of a method that intuitively fits you. Or take a class nearby.

    Take a Qigong class. If no class is available nearby or is otherwise unavailable, videos are available. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR STATE OF RECOVERY IS, Qigong can be done. Many senior centers have weekly classes.

    Note: September 6, 2008, I had a massive hemorrhagic stroke and spent 2 months and 3 weeks in the hospital and therapeutic housing (in a stroke and other neurologic illnesses and ailments unit). Initially I was 100% paralyzed in my right side, and had various types of aphasia, including the inability of speaking. Now I am walking, often without a cane, and my right hand, while still affected (intuitively, about 40% lack of feeling, I can move readily, with my fingers not curled up. Not exactly nimble, however!

    1. Sorry Billy,
      Qi Gong is good as a gentle movement class but has no valid basis for its energy claims.