I Could Not Move My Right Arm

Initially, after my 2 strokes, I could not move my dominant right arm and the sensation in my arm was non-existent. I was so scared!

For about 2 weeks there was no signs of improvement. The physiotherapist in hospital started exercising my arm and then suddenly there was a twinge in my arm - the first twinge in over 2 weeks. I wasn't sure if it was just a twinge or something more.

I started to get more twinges over the next couple of weeks and I could move my arm just a little bit. It was amazing and from then I was positive to get my arm and hand functional again.

To begin with, I couldn't do anything with only one functional arm and hand. But slowly and gradually I had to adapt with my non-dominant hand (now my dominant hand) and do day-to-day things like dressing and washing - basically I had to re-learn pretty much everything again.

When we left the hospital post-stroke my Dad used to come to my flat every lunchtime and do physio on my arm for an hour and I continued with my own physio as well.

SaeboStretchAlso, I went to The Prestbury Centre for some more physio with a qualified physiotherapist. For 6 months she helped me exercise my arm and hand, which was really good, but I was still only getting a bit of movement in my arm and I could grip my hand a little bit but no finger extension.

They also supplied me with a SaeboStretch to stretch my hand each night (I'm still wearing it now - mostly at night - see image to the right).

I read an advert in The Stroke Association's magazine about Saebo and it's products and I was very interested so went onto their website to read more about a thing called SaeboFlex and SaeboReach.

My Dad called Saebo and there was a free Saebo Assessment Site in Gloucester, about 15 minutes away, so we decided to go along. The assessment was successful because I could grip a little bit. I had to go for the SaeboReach because I needed some help with my elbow as well.

SaeboReachWhen I got the SaeboReach (image to the left) they showed me how to put it on and what was involved. To begin with, I could grip a ball, but it would take a bit of time releasing the ball. I had exercises at home, 2 x 45 minutes per day, and exercises at the physio's clinic once a week.

Over time, my arm was getting a lot stronger (and I detached the elbow component because I didn't need it any more) and my grip was improving, but I still couldn't extend my fingers.

I read an article in The Stroke Association's magazine about Functional Electrical Stimulation units for the arm and I was fascinated! We went to see PhysioFunction (where I got the WalkAide for my leg from) and talked about different options for the arm.

Bioness Ness H200First of all we used a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine to try to get my arm muscles working again and got a Bioness NESS H200 Hand Rehabilitation System (image to the right). The Ness H200 is basically 5 pads, unique to each individual, within an arm gadget and connected to a device which controls the electric current to the arm.

With the Ness H200 on, I can extend my fingers, close my fingers and grasp something - it's quite ingenious. I use my Ness H200 about 3-5 days a week, ranging from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. It's good exercise and helps me use my arm and hand more functionality.

Compression Recovery SleeveI'm also using a Compression Recovery Sleeve (image to the left) to help circulate the blood more effectively because I sometimes used to see my hand in a blue colour due to bad circulation.

In addition to that I had Botox twice in my arm and hand to relax the muscles, which helped a little. I also had Baclofen tablets, a muscle relaxant, but I stopped taking it after 6 months because it was messing with my head psychologically.

I think it's a combination of electric stimulus, the compression recovery sleeve, using weights to strengthen my arm and a variety of other things and now I can move my arm above my head, behind me and in front of me albeit awkwardly, a bit stiff and sometimes with difficulty.

My hand is more relaxed, and I can use my hand on some items functionality such as gripping a variety of items (e.g. a tea bag and put it into a cup), sometimes using my left hand to help me, but I still can't voluntary extend my fingers. I'm also playing the Nintendo Wii with my right hand, so I can play tennis and golf and others, and I can eat with my right hand with a specially adapted fork and spoon.

Recently, I can sometimes move my thumb slightly outwards (extension), which is a massive step, but it depends - sometimes I can extend my thumb, sometime I can't.

I'm trying to use my right hand in a functional way. I still can't write or type on the computer with my right hand, or a variety of other things, because my fingers can't do anything independently of each other, but i'm still positive, exercise almost every day and will never give up hope!!

This article by Chris Banting was posted in: Arm And Leg Gadgets. Stroke Recovery.


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WalterFer -

I think this is among the most significant information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

Venilde -

what a great article of hope. My stroke happened a little over a year ago, I was completely paralysed on my left side. I am able to walk today, a little wobbly, but am getting better at it. my left hand is still not functional, I do have quite a bit of spascticity, I am able to move my arm to my chest, bu can not extend my fingers. we recently bought the saebo reach. I am going back for adjustments, as it hurts me when I try and close my hand, hopefully itwill be adjusted properly and wll no longer hurt. I don't want to give up hope - i am generally a positive person, annd when I put my mind to something i usually succeed. i was a bit discouraged last week as I asked my physio therapist if he thought I would regain the use of my arm - he said hardly unlikely as too much time has gone by. I have to say my heart just dropped to my feet, I always believed the the brain is constantly learning everyday. Anway, after reading your article I feel light hearted again, and hope has been restored.

thank you

Alverta Westrope -

Good day! I simply would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have got right here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.

Howard Lee -

Great blog post. Really looking forward to read more.

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I cannot thank you enough for the article. Really thank you! Really Great.

Len Worsfold -

9 1/2 years ago I was in the same boat. Now I play bowls (fairly successfuly), garden and generally enjoy life.

Please note it is worth the effort.

Yours Len Worsfold.

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