Amandine can give you guidance on maintaining the work you have done with her at home.

Amandine can give you guidance on maintaining the work you have done with her at home.

Having described the symptoms of hemiplegia here and how physiotherapy can help here, this week our physiotherapist Amandine Valentin gives hemiplegia sufferers some advice they can use at home.

Range of Motion

Limited range of motion is one of the most common symptoms of hemiplegia. A good way to reduce pain is to move the paralysed or weak limb on a daily basis, to prevent stiffness and muscle contracture. This range of movement can be passive, actively assisted or active, depending on whether you can move the limb yourself or need assistance.

Patients with hemiplegia often complain of shoulder pain due to hypertonicity causing the shoulder to lack external rotation. It is therefore important to stretch the muscle group affecting your arm and shoulder.

Here is an example of upper limb exercises you can do every day, according to your abilities and strength.

Please be aware that range of motion should NOT be pushed unless you have been instructed by your physiotherapist on proper techniques.

  • Roll both of your shoulders backwards
  • Flex and extend the elbow joint as much as you can tolerate
  • Flex your wrist backwards and forwards to increase range of motion in your wrist, then place your hand on a flat surface and slide the fingers side-to-side
  • Open your hand and practice tapping the pad of each finger to the pad of your thumb individually

Keep in mind that you should use the affected limb as often as possible in order to keep a good strength, mobility and proprioception.

You can also focus on functional activities such as painting, typing or even dancing! All of these will help improve the symptoms you experience as a result of hemiplegia.

Positioning

In your day-to-day life, it is important to position your affected side appropriately when sitting down or sleeping. Here are some tips to help you:

Sitting:

  • When sitting, you can support the affected arm on a pillow. You should make sure that the height is appropriate; it shouldn’t push the shoulder too high or rotate it inward
  • Your leg should be positioned comfortably, without too much rotation at the hip. Your knee should be facing forward and your feet should be flat on the ground. Ideally, you should have equal weight on each buttock, your back should be straight and supported by the chair.

 

Lying down

  • When lying on your back, place a pillow by your side and place the weak arm straight on the pillow. In case of swelling of the hand, you can use an extra pillow to elevate it. Make sure your feet are in a neutral position
  • When lying on your non-affected side, support the back with a pillow and place your weak arm and leg forward and relaxed onto pillows.
  • When lying on the affected side, just make sure the affected shoulder is slightly forward and you are not lying directly on the shoulder joint.

If you are suffering from hemiplegia and looking for support and improvement, please call us or book online with Amandine here. Amandine is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.