Rehabilitation after Stroke Occupational Therapy improves strength, endurance, and arm function


On June thirteenth of 2013 I had an AVM fistula stroke and had a bunch of grand mal seizures that was the indication so they rushed me to the local hospital and they for a couple of days there they realized they couldn’t handle it and sent me to New York Presbyterian. When I was released from New York Presbyterian I came right to Helen Hayes impatient for seven weeks. And the occupational therapy focuses mainly on my arm so you know from my shoulder down to my hand In the first four months I had absolutely no response. All of a sudden I started to get a little bit at a time working. So it started with my hand and I could move my hand just a little bit, and then I could move my hand a little bit more, and then I could move my wrist and so you know occupational therapy we did, we focused on range of motion exercises at first almost exclusively. And now that I have some motion back we’re focusing on strength and endurance exercises. And actually in occupational therapy we get to do a lot of play a lot of games so there are beads where it’s like you know take this bead and put it over this wire and bring it up and bring it over there or pegs in a pegboard so pick up these pegs and put them into the pegboard you know which is extremely awkward but their child’s toys they’re on take these blocks and see how many you can pick up and put over a wall for you know for lack of a better term wall and put it on the other side in one minute. And I could only do five of them the first time and then the next time I could do 11 and then the next time they measured it i can do 14 and the last time i think i did 21 so so a lot of it is games. Just yesterday in occupational therapy they had me playing video games, they had me typing on a keyboard with my right hand which I tried for the first time and I was surprisingly good you know, not as bad as I thought I’d be. My occupational therapist Eileen is a genius. Really once i really had lost hope at one point and Eileen kind of put her hands on my arm and gave me a couple of exercises to do and it seemed like two weeks later my arm started to wake up so, and I’ve been working with Eileen since then so for a year now I’ve been working with Eileen and I think that I’ve made great strides with my arm and I credit her with all of that. Before we get started she’ll often loosen up and massage my shoulder which is, believe me not as pleasant as it sounds, because she you know digs in really deep to loosen up that deep tissue and I’m like Eowww! {pain} You call this a massage so but she says what I have to do to break that up you know so we can we can work the shoulder because we can’t work the shoulder if it’s totally stiff. Eileen used some stim (Electrical Stimulation) with me so there’s a tiny portable stim that you can get, I think my insurance covered it, so she taught me how to use that here and then we can do that at home so you can place that at various spots all up and down your arm in the back of your shoulder so that’s something that we did. So she’s teaching me how to write with my right hand again which is not going so well.if someone approached me tomorrow and said I have need for therapy you know for a therapy whether it’s for the smallest thing or for a full-blown stroke, neurological disorder, you know neurological recovery or orthopedic recovery like I’ve needed I would tell them go straight to Helen Hayes and don’t take no for an answer there’s really no place like it.

3 comments

  • My mom is currently in the hospital from a stroke. She is 79 years old and has constant movement. She needs 24/7 watching. This woman Britt is amazing how old was she when she had a stroke.?

  • occupational therapy is one of great health professions. ………

  • Do you have any diagrams that show the placement of electrodes to aid in left arm and hand weakness. I am 10 months post-stroke. Thanks!

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