I recently bought the book “had a stroke now what” by tom balchin. Hoped for a bit more info on pain but not too much in the book but there were two items I wonder if anyone had tried and what if any benefit it might have brought to you ?
Mirror therapy. Putting a mirror next to your good arm so in the mirror it looks like your bad arm. Fooling your brain into thinking your arm is ok.
Touching the equivalent good part of your body, concentrating on what that feels like and then touching the same part which doesn’t work as well. ie you know what it should feel like and trying to encourage the faulty part to feel the same.
Do these actually help ?
@Nigelglos now that’s an interesting theory. Not tried it myself so no idea if it works but what have you got to lose?
@Nigelglos trying to fool the brain, it sounds a good idea to me, you’ll have to focus closely whilst doing these sort of exercises as if you’re inwardly thinking negatively (eg this isn’t going to work) then it won’t be convincing. I may not be explaining properly hopefully you understand what I mean.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your arm/leg etc hasn’t been damaged it’s the connection that has been compromised, give it a go.
Hope it works for you.
Shwmae @Nigelglos, I have not needed to try it myself but it is a well-established method of trying to get the neurotransmitters rerouting to the unresponsive limb. It is also used to treat phantom limb. Keep in mind that not everyone is receptive to it, it’s a bit like hypnosis in that respect. If you were to try it, be mindful that it isn’t an instantaneous fix, but that it can be incorporated as part of your daily physiotherapy as an aide to encourage the brain to respond.
Hi, mirror box was one of the therapies I tried when I was in a rehab unit after my stroke 5 years ago. It’s actually a box which you place your affected arm into. It has a mirror on the side and you place your good arm so that you can see it and it actually looks like your affected arm is moving. You then make small movements eg lifting alternate fingers up and down whilst concentrating on moving your affected arm.
Unfortunately it didn’t work for me despite buying my own to use at home after I was discharged. It’s mentally draining and I found it really difficult to stay focused. Some of the patients actually fell asleep whilst taking part in the session.
I hope this is helpful, although I didn’t work for me I’ll try anything. Fortunately it’s not one of the expensive pieces of equipment, so it’s worth giving it a go.
I was told/advised to to do the mirror exercise (stroking my good hand then my affected hand) by my stroke therapist both in hospital and at home visits
An independent keep fit instructor also said the same.
3 months PS my stroke hand is a lot better. Whether it was the mirroring or a natural improvement I don’t know.
I also do a lot of exercise on all parts of my body including squeezing a stress ball and finger springs.
Regaining the use of my right hand was my major aim as I am right handed have lost most of my left hand function 60 yesrs ago as I teenager
@nbcleopatra welcome, it’s good to hear you’ve made improvements.
When I first had the stroke my right arm, hand, fingers. had no movement whatsoever. A young trainee physio worked with me, encouraging me and gradually some movement returned.
It is difficult to describe well what happened, but I will try.
Imagine moving a ‘missing’ part of the limb. Gradually that ‘imagined movement’ somehow ties in with the means to actually move. For example to lift or wriggle a finger, begin just by imagining you are doing it.
She showed me how to ‘find’ the area by, for example, rubbing the finger with a rough towel, dragging it over the table top, manipulating it with the other hand.
By conciously imagining and stimulating an unconcious process appears to be started, which somehow begins to activate control again.
This does take a little while and the initial results are small but this is something that, with persistance can be built upon. I cannot boast to have gained huge advances but changes have occurred and I hope for more.
It is around 10 months since I had my stroke. I too greatly miss the use of my originally dominant right side.
I hope this is of interest and possibly of use.
Keep on keepin’ on
I suppose one way to aid imaging movement would be to perform the movement with the ‘good’ side then imagine that same action on the other.
Shwmae @Bobbi, aye, when envisioning or seeing an action performed the parts of the brain responsible for that action light up. It’s not high beam but it is enough to stimulate the neurotransmitters. This is why when we watch an action or think about an action we experience empathy, and that empathy is the brain experiencing it as if it were ourselves.