One-sided paralysis is mostly due to brain damage or damage to the spinal cord. When it occurs, it might feel like you are done for. Fortunately, this is not always the case since there are a number of tips you can consider on your road to recovery.
Tips for People Struggling with One-Sided Paralysis
If you are struggling with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body), then the following tips are for you. Some can be done at home, whereas, in others, you will need the help of a therapist. These tips are as follows:
Exercise is one of the key ways to overcome this condition. There are many different types of exercises including passive, strengthening, and stretching.
A good example of a passive exercise is “palm up and down”. In this type of passive exercise, all you need to do is place your affected hand on a table. After that, use the non-affected one to turn your palm up and down.
An example of a strengthening exercise is the “cane lean” exercise. Here, you are required to place your affected hand on a cane. Once you have done that, place the non-affected hand on top to ensure maximum stability. While in this position, try to lean into the affected side. Be sure to do this gently so your safety is not compromised. By leaning to the affected side, you will be putting some weight on it, which, in turn, helps stimulate it.
Some examples of stretching exercises are a wrist stretch and forearm stretch. For the wrist stretch, you will need to place your hands in your lap and then follow this by interlacing your fingers. After this, stretch the affected arm palm-side up by bending your wrist. During the wrist stretch, start by making sure your fingers are interlaced. After that, bend your affected wrist gently. Stop when you start to feel pain.
Also referred to as sensory reeducation, sensory retraining is a rehabilitation technique that retrains the brain so it can improve its ability to process sensation. There are several sensory retraining exercises to help stimulate the aforesaid sensation. They include tabletop touch therapy, sensory locating, texture hunting, temperature differentiation, and texture handling. Although results often take longer than expected, sensory reeducation offers a reliable way to improve your condition.
Mental practice is always recommended for people whose one side of the body is paralyzed. This is because you can do it anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, therapists assert that mental practice, when combined with physical practice, can help you overcome the paralysis on one side of the body faster than imagined.
But what exactly is mental practice? Well, mental practice, which is also referred to as mental imagery, is a rehabilitation technique in which you visualize yourself practicing the activities you plan to improve. It is believed that mental practice ignites changes to the motor, premotor, and other areas of the brain that coordinate so you can move.
Modified Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy
Modified constraint-induced movement therapy is commonly known as mCIMT. Under this therapy, you are required to restrain the non-affected side so you can use the affected side regularly. A good example is when a therapist places an oven mitt on the non-affected hand to encourage you to use the affected hand often.
The only drawback of this rehabilitation method is that it can be frustrating, to some extent. As such, therapists advise that you only use mCIMT to the point of a challenge. Stop using it when you start to find it irritating. All in all, mCIMT is highly encouraged. In fact, one study found that someone who uses it is likely to enjoy better results than someone relying on conventional therapy alone.
Since this condition paralyzes one side of the body, your chances of falling are normally high. For this reason, it is advisable that you consider using an assistive device every time you want to move from one place to another. Assistive devices include wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, among others. They provide much-needed balance, thereby, massively reducing your chances of falling. Before you get an assistive device, however, make sure you consult with your occupational and/or physical therapist. A professional therapist will recommend you the right device that suits your needs.
It is vital to seek the help of a therapist when you are paralyzed on one side of the body. A therapist will recommend the above tips since most of them are easy to execute. What’s more, they are safe, with most of them being less frustrating.