The best hemiplegia treatment is exercise…
But how can you exercise when you’re paralyzed on half of the body?
Well, learning how to adapt stroke exercises to accommodate hemiplegia is the key to recovery.
To help you out, this article will teach you how to create a stroke exercise regimen to treat hemiplegia.
We’ll also share a success story at the end so that you can see how others have done it.
Let’s get started.
Hemiplegia Treatment Starts with the Brain
Hemiplegia involves paralysis on the affected side of the body.
When hemiplegia happens after stroke, it’s because the brain cannot send signals to your affected side anymore.
So although you try your hardest to move your affected side, your muscles simply don’t get the message, and they don’t move.
Hemiplegia treatment revolves around restoring this mind-muscle communication through neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity allows healthy parts of the brain to “pick up the slack” by forming new neural pathways.
These pathways will reconnect your brain to your affected side to get those muscles moving again.
How Repetition Heals the Brain and Treats Hemipleiga
Neuroplasticity is activated by repetition.
Since your brain likes to be efficient, it will strengthen the neural pathways responsible for things you practice regularly – that way you exert less effort.
Right now you cannot move your affected side because your brain has lost communication with those muscles.
But if you begin to move those muscles frequently (i.e. massed practice), it will let your brain know that it’s important.
The more you move your affected side, the more your brain will rewire itself. With consistent practice, you will form new neural pathways that reconnect mind to muscle.
And you will slowly regain your ability to move your affected side.
But you can just move in any ol’ way. You need to be strategic about it!
Passive Exercise Is the Best Starting Point for Hemiplegia Treatment
The best way to improve hemiplegia after stroke is to perform therapeutic rehab exercises every day.
Although you cannot move your muscles independently yet, you can start with passive exercise.
This simply means using your non-affected side to assist your affected muscles through the exercises.
Although you aren’t “doing it yourself,” it still helps activate neuroplasticity and introduce movement into your paralyzed muscles.
Other Ways to Treat Hemiplegia
Although passive exercise is the best hemiplegia treatment, there are several other stroke treatments that you can try:
1. Electrical Stimulation
Studies have shown that combining electrical simulation (e-stim) with rehab exercise produces better results than exercise alone. During e-stim, little electrode pads are used to send gentle electric stimulation to your affected muscles, which helps activate neuroplasticity.
2. Mental Practice
Another way to activate neuroplasticity is through mental practice, which simply involves closing your eyes and visualizing yourself moving your affected muscles. Although it’s a simple practice, it’s another powerful way to activate neuroplasticity. Don’t underestimate it.
3. Mirror Therapy
If you struggle with paralysis in your arm and hand, then mirror therapy can help. It involves using a mirror to “trick” your brain into thinking that your affected side is moving. Although it’s a strange approach, it really does activate neuroplasticity and improve hemiplegia after stroke.
4. Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy
There’s an aggressive form of rehabilitation for hemiplegia called constraint-induced movement therapy.
It involves restraining the affected limb while forcing use of the affected limb. This is both a very effective and very frustrating method for treating hemiplegia.
If you have the grit for it, we highly recommend it. The studies are phenomenal. (An no, you won’t be doing push ups like that guy, but you get the idea.)
5. FitMi Home Therapy
FitMi is an exercise tool that motivates you to accomplish high repetition of therapeutic rehab exercises.
Since repetition is the key to activating neuroplasticity, FitMi can help you recover from hemiplegia when you use it passively.
Next, we will share an amazing success story of how FitMi has helped other stroke survivors overcome hemiplegia.
How Ron Overcame Hemiplegia with Passive Exercise
Here’s a story from a stroke survivor who used FitMi to treat hemiplegia after stroke:
“My husband suffered a stroke caused by a dissecting carotid artery in late May of this year. He lost 40% of his left hemisphere of his brain causing right side paralysis.
His speech was slightly impaired but thankfully Drs believe he is a rare left handed person with speech located in right hemisphere of his brain!
Ron was in ICU for a week, followed by a rehab hospital for five more weeks. He came home and has done out patient therapy three days a week since.
About three weeks ago I ordered the FitMi and just this past week he moved his arm for the very first time!!!
He and I both think the repetitive movement of the arm has given his brain the signal that it’s there and ready to move!!!
He will continue with both the FitMi and his other therapies for as long as it takes to fully recover!!!”
As you can see from Ron’s story, passive exercise and high repetition are the keys to overcoming hemiplegia.
Useful Passive Exercise Guides for Hemiplegia
To help you create an exercise regimen to overcome hemiplegia, we created these free passive exercise guides:
You can also work with a therapist or caregiver to passively exercise your affected side.
Summary: The Best Hemiplegia Treatment for Stroke Survivors
Overall, the best hemiplegia treatment is repetitive, passive rehab exercise.
Repetitively moving your affected muscles sends signals to your brain and sparks neuroplasticity.
You can also use electrical stimulation, mental practice, and mirror therapy to boost neuroplasticity.
As your brain rewires itself, you will slowly see movement return to your paralyzed muscles.
If you stay consistent, you will slowly regain your independence after stroke!