Hello! Since I’ve had my stroke in late 2017, I am still fighting right-side spasticity. My leg and foot have gotten so much better - I can walk with much greater ease and confidence! Even still, I am working my legs and feet everyday. My right arm, however, still requires a lot of attention. This involves my shoulder, bicep, tricep, elbow, forearm, hand and fingers. The spasticity is not fun - it is painful, to mention the least. But, that’s one of the issues I am learning to deal with.
Flint Rehab came out with another informative article this month regarding treatments for spasticity. (The entire article, and I recommend it, is “Best Treatments for Spasticity After TBI,” dated 3/4/19.) Again, as I have mentioned several times before, you need to retrain your brain. Here are the 3 things that can be done, according to Flint Rehab, to treat spasticity effectively:
1. STRETCHING & PASSIVE EXERCISE
I have shared some of these earlier in my posts. Please refer to the Arm Exercises I discussed and gave directions for in my Therapy Posts of 3/7/19 and 3/13/19 (they include from Flint Rehab the Inner Arm Stretch, Wrist Stretch, Cane Reach, Straight Push, Circle Movement and Cane Leaning).
I use quite a few stretching and passive exercises to help rebuild my right arm. I use the ones that I have already shared with you - that I mentioned again above. I am also very happy to tell you that my repetitious stretching arm exercise has been extremely beneficial. When I started doing the exercise I was able to move my hand up to my belly-button and now I can move my hand up over my breasts! You can see this in the photos above!
2. BOTOX INJECTIONS
Botox causes your muscles to relax. The problem with using Botox for the spasticity problem is that it is only temporary; it is not a permanent solution. I’ve used Botox twice. The temporary treatment is wonderful - but even with insurance coverage it wasn’t inexpensive, and as I mentioned, it is not permanent. So I am focusing my effort on therapy.
In fact, both the first 2 things do not treat the cause of spasticity. To really improve spasticity, you need to get your brain to start sending messages to your affected muscles again. And the way to do this is to engage neuroplasticity.
3. ENGAGING NEUROPLASTICITY TO TREAT SPASTICITY
Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to retrain itself. This is done through repetitive, consistent and therapeutic exercise. So the best way to treat your spasticity is to exercise those affected muscles.
The more you exercise, the more you will create and reinforce new neural pathways - making it easier for communication to happen between your brain and your muscles, and causing your spasticity to fade away. So do not stop exercising!! You need to to work those muscles and that will retrain your brain!!
God Bless, Peg
“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” ― Vincent van Gogh
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