Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has some very exciting news for those who might be affected by stroke. People who are affected by a stroke sometimes have to relearn to talk and walk again, dress themselves, and pick up objects on their own. The recovery from stroke can be exhausting both mentally and physically. Though it is difficult, it is not impossible. Especially with the help of an expert physical therapist.
When someone has a stroke, blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. The result is the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When those cells die, the area that the brain controls, such as speech or movement, is affected. According to stroke.org, each year, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Occupational therapist Shelly Kitrell says that, “brain cells that weren’t affected by stroke can be trained to perform functions that the damaged brain cells once did. Repetitive physical tasks help the brain tap into this ability.”
New assistive devices and medical equipment are exciting. It is always impressive to see how medical equipment is designed and redesigned to reflect newly released evidence-based research.
Enter the SaeboFlex. The SaeboFlex is a device that is fitted over the palm and forearm. It uses spring tension to assist the fingers in movement in an effort to retrain the brain. It works off the same principles that an assisted-pull up machine works, if that helps makes sense. If the device was attached to someone who had full range of motion and strength, it would feel like they were able to lift or curl their finger with minimal effort.
Why is this important? Shelly Kitrell says “(those affected by stroke) can start rewiring or retraining the brain to be able to open and close the hand… The more you go without the use of one side (of your body), the more your brain says, ‘I don’t really have that arm. It doesn’t work anymore… You have to fool the brain to rewire it so that you can get the function back again.”
Once a patient is able to move their fingers, they can begin to build strength in their forearm. Once they build forearm strength, they can begin working on elbow and upper arm strength. Once they have gained upper arm strength, they can start shoulder strengthening. Starting to get the idea?
At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists specialize in stroke rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is recovering from stroke, feel free to call us at (714) 997-5518. We not only specialize in physical therapy treatment, but are current on new evidence based research and assistive medical equipment to make your recovery as swift as possible.
Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center
1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1
Orange, CA 92868