There are many variables that go into regaining arm movement after stroke.
In order to effectively rehabilitate your arm, you should understand the following:
- The reason why your arm won’t move
- How neuroplasticity will help get your arm back
- How much you need to be exercising
Don’t worry – we’ll guide you through all of it. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to do to regain arm function after stroke.
#1 Focus for Regaining Arm Movement After Stroke
The most important concept to understand is that the problem is not in your arm. Your arm muscles are likely just fine. Rather, the problem is in your brain-muscle communication.
When stroke damages the part of the brain that controls arm movement, it impairs your brain’s ability to “talk” to your arm. Since your arm cannot hear your brain’s commands anymore, it won’t move like you want it to.
In order to get your arm and brain talking to each other normally again, you need to activate neuroplasticity and rewire your brain. Luckily, it’s quite simple; but it does require lots of hard work.
Here’s how it works:
How Neuroplasticity Fixes the Problem
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself. When there is damage to the brain after stroke, neuroplasticity allows your brain to reorganize itself around the damage.
In order to activate neuroplasticity, you need to practice whatever skill you want to develop. In this case, you’ll want to practice moving your arm.
When we practice something, specific neural pathways in our brain are activated. Initially, these pathways might be weak. But when you practice over and over and over, these neural pathways become stronger and stronger.
That’s why arm rehabilitation exercises are the best way to regain arm movement after stroke. They help strengthen the connections in your brain that control your arm.
This will help relink your brain to your arm so that they can start talking like normal again.
But, how much practice do you need?
How Much Do You Need to Be Exercising Your Arm?
The best way to activate neuroplasticity is by practicing something A LOT. The more the merrier. Let’s dig into the specifics of what ‘a lot’ means.
During traditional therapy in the clinic, most patients perform around 30- to 40-something repetitions of upper extremity exercises. This is enough to spark neuroplasticity and generate results.
However, many patients experience a plateau after being discharged from the clinic. This is because your brain’s temporary heightened state of plasticity has ended (i.e. your brain doesn’t want to rewire itself as fast anymore).
Therefore, in order to kick-start your results again, you need to perform a very high number of repetition – preferably 100+ — on a regular basis.
While that might sound like a lot, there are ways to get it done in less time than you’d think.
Speed Up Arm Recovery
To help speed up recovery from stroke, we created a rehab device called FitMi that helps patients just like you achieve more reps in less times.
Even patients with severe impairment have been able to achieve over 400+ repetitions in just 30 minutes with FitMi. This helps activate neuroplasticity to the max, so that you see the best results possible.
If you’d like to try a faster way to regain arm movement after stroke, FitMi is a great fit for you. You can learn more about FitMi and read patient testimonials here.