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  • Merge Rehabilitation, PLLC

Best Exercise for Stroke Recovery from Merge Rehabilitation- In Home Therapy- Croton-On-Hudson, NY.

According to the CDC, every year more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Common Physical limitations after a stroke include: Hemiparesis or Hemiplegia which can present as: Weakness or Inability to use the affected arm/leg, stiffness or tightness, inability to keep the hand open, pain and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm and leg. These impairments affect the ability to stand and walk and may limit stroke survivors to use of a wheelchair, walker or cane. These impairments may also affect the ability to perform everyday activities.

There is a high degree of variability following stroke and no two strokes are exactly the same. Some strokes affect the left side of the body and others affect the right. Some strokes affect the arm more than the leg and vice versa and some affect trunk control and balance more than others. Because of this variability in the way that Stroke survivors present, there is no one exercise that is best for everyone. There are many different types of exercises that are beneficial for regaining function.

In order for an exercise program for stroke recovery to be effective it needs to be based on neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that the brain is plastic or able to be changed. Connections in the brain can weaken or be strengthened and new connections can be made. Because of this, the damage caused to areas of the brain by stroke can potentially be bypassed and it may be possible to restore function and increase movement. In order for a Stroke Recovery Exercise Program to effectively drive neuroplasticity it should incorporate 3 main characteristics/principles. These are:

Use it or Lose it / Move it and Improve It / High Repetitions

1. Use it or Lose it. If you do nothing and neglect to move your weak arm and/or leg they will get even weaker and eventually whatever movement you have will be lost.

2. Move it and Improve It. If you do use your affected arm and/or leg and participate in exercise and activities that incorporate them, then over time they can improve.

3. High Repetitions. The number of times that you use your arm and/or leg matters. Research shows that you have to use the affected limbs many times throughout the day to help drive lasting changes.

Because it is so important to move the affected limbs following stroke frequently, what you do at home, on your own time is very important. If you are receiving rehabilitation services, that is great, but these services are limited because you only engage in them for a small portion of the day. So, it is important that your Occupational and Physical Therapists provide you with a Home Exercise Program and that you perform them many times throughout the day. Your Therapist can help you gradually increase the repetitions and update the Home Exercise Program as you progress.

Lastly, stroke recovery can be a very long journey. You need to be motivated to participate, a support system to lean on can keep you accountable and help you stay the course and it is important to understand the reasons why you are engaging in these exercises. It is vital to keep your personal goals at the forefront of your mind and work hard to achieve them.

Not sure where to start? Merge Rehabilitation can help. We offer Physical Therapy in the convenience of your home to help keep you active and mobile to maintain function & independence. Servicing Croton-On-Hudson, NY and Surrounding Areas.


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