Exercise for stroke patients with paralysis should involve passive exercise to help restore movement.
You’re about to learn the difference between active and passive exercise and why it helps paralysis recovery after stroke. Then, you’ll discover some examples of paralysis recovery exercises.
If you feel like your chances of recovery from post-stroke paralysis are low, these exercises will give you a significant boost.
Let’s get started.
Active vs Passive Rehab Exercise
Active rehab exercise involves doing a movement on your own, while passive exercise involves assisting your affected limbs through a movement.
Passive exercise helps with paralysis recovery because it does not require effort (from the affected muscles, at least). Rather, passive exercise involves using your non-affected side to move your paralyzed muscles.
When rehabilitating heavier limbs, like the legs, passive exercise will require the help of a caregiver, therapist, or family member.
Also, if both sides of the body were affected by stroke, then assistance from another person will also be required.
Passive Exercise Helps Post-Stroke Paralysis
Passive rehab exercise helps paralysis recovery because it activates neuroplasticity, the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself after injury.
Although passive exercise may not feel like you’re “doing it yourself,” the stimulation still helps activate neuroplasticity.
When stroke damages part of your brain, neuroplasticity allows other parts of the brain to take over. Neuroplasticity is how you regain movement after stroke (along with many other side effects).
You can activate neuroplasticity through repetition.
If you want to regain movement after post-stroke paralysis, then you need to practice passive stroke exercises repetitively, as much as possible.
In the beginning, start with passive exercise. As you slowly regain small amounts of movement, you can eventually progress to active exercises.
Progress can be very slow. However, once patients see twitches or tiny movements start to come back, it will motivate them to continue with their passive exercise.
Example Paralysis Recovery Exercises
Luckily, doing passive exercises isn’t complicated. Simply find active exercises and assist your affected muscles through the movements.
For example, here’s an easy leg exercise that you can turn into a passive exercise:
Hip Flexion with Hold
Use your hands to lift your affected leg up into your chest and hold it for one second. Then, slowly lower your leg back down.
This movement is passive because you assist your affected leg with your arms. To make the movement active, you simply raise your leg without the help of your arms.
Arm Punching Movement
Here’s another example exercise for stroke patients with paralysis. It’s called “Punching Movement” and it targets the arms:
To perform this exercise, slide your arm across the table to ‘punch’ the water bottle, and then pull your arm back.
This exercise can easily be turned into a passive exercise by using your torso to push your arm forward. It can just as easily be turned into an active exercise by initiating the whole movement with your arm.
These exercises help restore movement after post stroke paralysis by relinking your mind to your muscles.
Bonus Paralysis Recovery Exercise: Mental Practice
Stroke patients that struggle with paralysis can benefit from combining mental practice with their passive rehab exercises.
Mental practice involves imagining (or visualizing) yourself doing the movements you want to get better at. This helps activate neuroplasticity just like physical practice does.
For example, if you want to regain movement in your arm, spend time visualizing yourself doing the Punching Movement above. Then, after your visualization, practice the movement in real life.
Combining mental practice with physical practice leads to even better results.
High Tech Paralysis Recovery Tools
If you’re looking for a tool that can help with stroke paralysis recovery, then Flint Rehab’s high-tech FitMi can help.
FitMi is designed to help you achieve the high repetition necessary for recovery – and you can use it even if you’re starting with paralyzed limbs. It has a proven track record helping stroke patients recover from paralysis.
Simply start by using it passively and then work your way up to active exercise.
Paralysis Recovery After Stroke
To sum everything up, the formula for paralysis recovery is simple:
Gather some rehabilitation exercises and practice them passively by assisting your affected limbs through the movement. Couple this with mental practice for the best results.
Focus on high repetition and consistency, and you will be on the road to recovery. With time and repetition, you will be able to progress to active exercise. Good luck!