Stroke Rehab Tools, Tips, Tricks, and the little things that really matter.
I have been blessed, to have at my disposal, at home, more tools for my Stroke recovery than most Stroke Rehab facilities in Canada. We even found some great Rehab tools that we stumbled upon, that really helped me get from there to here. I cycle through them as the seasons change, because Stroke Recovery, in my case, is a Marathon, not a Sprint.
In my opinion, based on being a Stroke Survivor, to now being the co-founder of JGH Rehab, every Stroke Survivor need three devices, right out of the gate.
1. SaeboStretch: A dynamic resting hand splint helps neurologically-impaired clients maintain or improve motion while minimizing joint damage and pain.
Saebo’s energy-storing technology allows individuals suffering from spasticity to stretch comfortably and safely resulting in increased motivation and compliance.
The SaeboStretch includes three interchangeable dynamic handpieces that can accommodate various levels of Spasticity.
2. SaeboStep: The SaeboStep consists of a lightweight, uniquely designed foot drop brace that provides convenience and comfort while offering optimum foot clearance and support during walking. It was designed to replace uncomfortable, stiff, or bulky splints that go inside the shoe as well as poorly manufactured braces designed for outside of the shoe that lack support and durability. The SaeboStep can even be worn comfortably with the majority of male or female shoe styles. Individuals can use their favorite shoes by ordering the accessory kit to enable footwear without eyelets to be modified.
3. EMS Device: Electrical stimulation for stroke patients can help to activate the damaged portions of the brain by providing intense stimulation. In turn, this stimulation engages neuroplasticity, the process the brain uses to rewire itself and heal from injuries like stroke.
Then, depending on the severity of your Stroke, let the journey begin.
Even if you are unable to walk, YET, or walking is still an issue to do safely, don't wait, start your recovery by doing Children 24 piece puzzles. If you can complete the 24 piece puzzle in under 5 minutes, congratulations, move on to the 48 piece puzzles. It would take me between 2-3 hours to complete a 24 piece puzzle, but I practiced until I could do it consistently in under 5 minutes, then I turned it upside down, until I could complete it in under 5 minutes, then sideways. Crossword, Word Search puzzles, or Nintendo DS. Nintendo DS is a gaming system that has Brain Training Games, that help with vision, memory, and improve you cognitively. It has a touch screen, that you can easily operate with one hand. The best game that helped me was FLASH FOCUS. Here is a video explaining the game. You can usually pick up one of these systems including console, charger, stylus, and games for under $150.00. This is not my video, just one posted on YouTube.
(1) My Results With Flash Focus Days 1-6 - YouTube.
You had a Brain Injury, so you may have to kickstart your brain, to get it firing on all cylinders again. At this point, and from this point forward, EVERYTHING IS REHAB, SO TREAT IT THAT WAY.
In my opinion, Stroke Rehab, or improvement only ends when you stop trying to improve / recover. One thing is for sure, if you stop trying to improve, you will regress very quickly, or at least that is how it is for me. As you improve, or in order to continue your improvement, you need to change it up. Once you get to a point where you are able to stand on your own, you may want to consider the Video Games on the Wii system.
The Wii System will force you to weight shift, which will improve your balance, without even realizing it. Your Hand / Eye coordination, timing, and depth perception will improve dramatically, very quickly. I would spend hours a day playing Wii sports
You can usually pick one of these complete systems up for about $200.00. The system should come with Wii Sports, which is a great starting point.
Then, once you have mastered that, get the Wii Fit with the Balance Board. This will really get you back to putting weight on your weak, or Stroke affected leg / side. Putting weight on your Stroke affected side, takes a conscious effort, and to keep forcing weight through your affected side, takes practice.
The center of Gravity portion of this game, will really make you realize where your weight, is truly distributed, believe me, you will be shocked!! Practice this several times a day, and watch how quickly you become aware!!
I have been forcing myself to do that for the past 5 + years. So much that I now find myself always putting all my weight on my left / stroke affected leg. I do it naturally, without thinking about it.
I really had to concentrate on which foot I started walking with. What do I mean? You need to always lead or take your first step with your good / unaffected leg. Your brain will try and convince you that your weak leg isn't strong enough, and you will find yourself continually leading with your weak leg. Force yourself to take the first step with your good leg, and your gait will automatically improve.
I cannot stress enough, just how important Electrical Stim is to Stroke Recovery. Electrical Muscle Stimulation, does four main things that I wish I had known 6 years ago, when I was at Inpatient Rehab. The four main benefits from using Electrical Muscle Stimulation are:
1. Reduce your Spasticity
2. Increase or help you maintain your Range Of Motion, better known as ROM.
3. Re-educate your muscles, especially when using Trigger Stim, which can be found on the SaeboStim Pro. Trigger Stim gives you Stim on demand with the push of a button, which is great when used with the SaeboGlove or SaeboFlex, during exercise sessions. If you are considering either of these devices, watch these videos to see which one is better suited for you.
(1) How To Choose Between the SaeboFlex and SaeboGlove Hand Recovery Devices - YouTube
Henry Hoffman Q&A Video Series: Is My Patient Appropriate for the SaeboFlex or SaeboGlove? - Saebo
4. Help you recover from Shoulder Subluxation. Saebo has a great electrode configuration, or placement chart for shoulder subluxation, when using the SaeboStim Pro, on Program 5, which gives you a full hour of uninterrupted Electrical Muscle Simulation for that painful Shoulder Subluxation. I try and do this at least once a day if possible.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation, is tiring, or at least it is for me. So start slow, and build up your tolerance. I normally do my EMS, after dinner while watching Television, which in my opinion, the television, unless using to play Wii for therapy, should not be turned on until after 5:00 pm. My theory is that if I did not have a Stroke, I would normally be doing something else, until at least 5 pm, so why start watching Television during the day now?
While I am fighting hard for my recovery, we have found, and even designed several helpful tools that have given me more independence. That doesn't mean that I have given up on my recovery, it just helps me bridge the gap, to take some of the burden of my wife, caregiver, Superhero, because she is the reason that I have gotten so far in my recovery to date. Some of my best tools are:
1. Knork: This item allows a person to eat meals independently. Cut through steak or pork chops with ease. Stainless Steel, dishwasher safe, the Knork is your best friend during meal time. I use the Knork to eat every meal, gives me independence! Even take the knork to your favorite Restaurant!
2. Rocker Knife: The Rocker Knife with Solid handle is specially made for those with the use of only one hand. The sharp, curved blade with the very solid handle cuts with a rocking motion. Thus, someone who is only able to use one hand is able to cut anything with this stainless steel knife.
Rocker Knife with Solid Handle – JGH Rehab
3. One Handed Contact Lens Assisted Device: This is our new Assistive Device, that allow clients, to put in their own contact lenses using only one hand. Simply stick the device on top of your bathroom vanity, slide the contact lens package in the slots shown, pull back the tab, take out the contact lens using the tip of your index finger, slide the lens off your index finger onto the top of the post. The contact lens, should now be the correct position, so slide the lens off the post, back onto your index finger, into your eye. It takes a little practice, but I use this device everyday! This is a JGH Rehab Exclusive device, that you can purchase at One Handed Contact Lens Assistive Device – JGH Rehab. Click here to see the video demonstration.
These are just some of the devices, Tips, Tricks that I have used and continue to use on my Stroke Recovery journey. Stroke Recovery is hard, frustrating, and you will have good days and bad days. The key to success is don't get to high on the good days, or to low on the bad days. Always listen to your body, if you are tired, rest, when exercising, remember, as Saebo say "Repetition is Key".
Check us out at JGH Rehab, for our story and Full Product Line.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by the JGH Rehab website is solely at your own risk.