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7 Excellent Methods for Hand Recovery After Stroke

doctor holding a red heart between her hands to symbolize hand recovery

Hand recovery after stroke can be a slow process, but your chances of recovery increase every time you involve your hand in an activity. We’ll share the best ways to regain the use of your hand after stroke.

Best Hand Recovery After Stroke

Hand function is often the slowest to return after stroke because your hands are farthest from the midline of your body. Also, the smaller the muscle, the quicker the fatigue of the muscle.

While arm and leg function might be faster to return, usually the hands and feet take longer to regain function. However, there is still plenty of hope for regaining the use of your hand after stroke, especially if you are consistent with rehabilitation.

The following methods can help you boost your hand recovery efforts.

1. Hand Rehabilitation Exercise

Rehabilitation exercise is crucial for recovering fine motor skills after stroke.

Focus on practicing hand therapy exercises to improve your fine motor skills. Ideally, you can practice the ones that your physical therapist suggests, or you can use our hand exercises for stroke patients.

While traditional exercise focuses on making your muscles stronger, the goal of rehab exercise focuses on connecting the brain to the body through movement.

Want 25 pages of hand therapy exercises in PDF form? Click here to download our free Hand Therapy Exercise ebook now (link opens a pop up for uninterrupted reading)

2. Massed Practice

Your brain relearns skills like this by rewiring itself through neuroplasticity, which is activated through rehab exercise. The more you practice rehab exercise, the more your brain rewires itself, and the more movement you recover.

Neuroscientists refer to this as “massed practice,” which is practicing multiple repetitions of a skill you want to improve. In this case, it means many repetitions of hand exercises.

This means that if you want to regain use of your hand after stroke, you need to use your hand often. This will stimulate your brain and encourage it to improve control of your hand function.

3. Consistency

illustration of a human brain with electrical circuitry to symbolize the brain's neuroplasticity

Repetitive practice becomes even more effective with consistency on a daily basis.

Fuel your brain with repetition to rewire your brain, and then fuel your brain consistently to get more recovery and healing.

Consistent stimulation helps your brain create and retain the new neural pathways that you’re building. Find a hand therapy program that you like and take charge of your healing!

Booster Techniques to Regain Hand Function After Stroke

Stroke recovery includes neuroplasticity, repetition, and consistency for success.

Now we’re going to offer some booster techniques that increase your ability for additional recovery of hand function.

4. MusicGlove Hand Therapy

To help achieve the high repetition necessary for hand recovery after stroke, you can try high-tech devices like Flint Rehab’s MusicGlove.

It’s clinically proven to improve hand function within 2 weeks because it motivate you to accomplish hundreds of repetitions per exercise session.

5. Mirror Therapy

a person's hand following hand recovery exercises in front of a table top mirror

Mirror therapy is a standard hand recovery method for individuals with severe hand paralysis. It’s also suggested practice for reducing clenched hands after stroke.

Mirror therapy involves placing a tabletop mirror over your affected hand so that it reflects your unaffected hand in place of your affected hand.

If you perform hand exercises with your unaffected hand, it ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking that you’re moving your affected hand because of the reflection.

This sparks neuroplasticity and helps you regain movement in your affected hand.

6. Electrical Stimulation

electrical stimulation machine with colorful electrode pads for hand recovery after stroke

Electrical stimulation involves applying electrical currents to your skin to provide extra stimulation to your nerves and muscles. This amplifies the stimulation your brain receives.

Electrical stimulation is another standard treatment to recover from paralysis after stroke. When applied to the hands, wrists, and arms, it activates muscle movement, which in turn, sends a signal to the brain.

According to Katie Smith, OTR, it’s best to use electrical stimulation at the same time as rehab exercise. By electrically stimulating your muscles while using them, additional signals are sent to the brain since your brain remembers using these muscles for a functional activity.

7. Mental Practice

Mental practice is the art of visualizing yourself doing something. In this case, you would visualize yourself doing hand movements.

To boost hand improvement after stroke, you should mentally practice your hand exercises before and/or after your physical exercise.

When you mentally practice something, you engage neuroplasticity in the same way that physical practice does.

This is clinically proven to boost results. After all, there’s a reason why the world’s greatest athletes visualize successful outcomes of their sport before a competition.

Hand Recovery After Stroke: A Summary

When you have neuroplasticity, repetitive practice, and consistency in place, recovery and healing are enhanced.

Including electrical stimulation, mirror therapy, and/or MusicGlove into your exercise routine can improve your chances of increased function of the hand.

Keep It Going: Download a Free PDF Hand Therapy Exercise Guide!

hand therapy ebook cover with example pages

Get our free, illustrated “35 Hand Therapy Exercises for Stroke Patients” ebook by signing up below!

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Get inspired with this hand recovery story!

“My husband had a torn aorta and underwent emergency open heart surgery, then there were multiple complications and he was on life support for 10 days.

After 10 weeks in the hospital, he is expected to make a full recovery. The biggest hurtle to his recovery has been his left hand, between the muscle atrophy and brain trauma, he had very little control of it.

As a professional musician, being unable to even hold a guitar was hard, to say the least. Despite weeks of PT & OT, his hand function had barely improved.

We ordered the MusicGlove and received it in 2 days. He began using it right away. He spent over an hour with it the first day. That is what makes it work so well, it’s way more interesting and rewarding than trying to pick up a peg.

In OT, he struggled to do any of the exercises, and the at-home exercises were mainly strengthening.

After only a few days with the Music Glove, he was able to pick up and hold his guitar. and after 3 weeks, he can play 3 chords.

The MusicGlove and program are engaging. He uses it daily for an hour – and he wants to do it. His 1st time using it, I could barely get it on, his hand was moving so much; his accuracy was about 30% and he had difficulty even doing some of the fingers.

Now, after only a few weeks, his uncontrolled motion is about 60% better, I can easily & quickly get the glove on, his accuracy is over 90% – on all fingers, and he now can do multiple fingers. I would highly recommend this product.”

– Jill’s MusicGlove review

More Ways to Recover with Flint Rehab:

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