Hand recovery after stroke

  • 1
  • November 3, 2010

Hands are the chief organs for physically manipulating the environment, and each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere. After a stroke with partially damaged brain, grasping a block, gripping a glass, pinching to pick up a small ball or simply opening hands … These tasks may suddenly seem to be too difficult to reach. Indeed, impaired hand function is one of the most frequently persisting consequences of stroke.

The essential of the hand movements is controlled by specific part in our brain (within the motor cortex), and accomplished by two sets of muscles and tendons.

After a stroke, if the controlling brain area is damaged, it will also result in the shortening of soft tissue, skin, tendons and muscles. These will further become one of the most limiting factors to regaining hand function later. If the tissues are not stretched, it will result in spasticity which will further limit use of hand and arm and diminish the recovery potential.

The loss of hand functions results from the combination of two factors : a loss of brain activity due to the stroke and the physical changes in muscle and tendons that occur as a consequence. The less active the motor cortex and the more severe the spasticity , the less one can use his/her hand muscles.
Both problems need to be addressed as part of rehabilitation: stimulating the building of new circuits of information in the brain and releasing the spasticity in the hands, to allow these circuits of information to activate the hands.

Therefore the rehabilitation can indeed be adapted in each patient to the extent to which he suffers from each cause.

Usual interventions include muscle vibration and electrical nerve stimulation in the limbs enhance the motor cortical output to target muscles; mental practice (patient’s concentrating on moving the muscle). NeuroAiD, which supports neurological functions, can also help patients to regain hand function more rapidly. With time, the cells in that part of the brain affected by the stroke progressively become more easily activated. The changes in the strength of the connections between the brain and muscles lead to improvements in the ability to use the muscles.

Further intervention are under exploratory development, for example a team of Canadian doctors has developed a test to evaluate hand muscle control: tapping a single keyboard key with the index finger; picking up pegs, one at a time and placing them into holes on a pegboard; and pushing with index finger against a metal bar that measures force. Performance on this test was linked to the ease with which brain cells that control muscle functions can be activated; how active the brain cells are at the time of testing; and the strength of the neural connections between the brain and the muscle. Such test supports then the development of new clinical treatment strategies which will better match each patient situation at the different stages of the recovery process. This may open in the future a route way for more effective individualized optimized treatment protocol for stroke survivors based by adjusting the treatment to the individual’s exact situation and recovery dynamics.

There are specific books or tools such, which may help you find out the exercise which are most suited to your situation – by researching on the internet we came across several books written by stroke survivors who are more than happy to share their experiences. To benefit from these ex stroke patients’ genius creations, you can visit Amazon.

Medical News Today
Blue Bridge Healthcare, USA


  • Celia says:

    My mother is 65 and was diagnosed 7 years ago with frontal temporal lobe dementia. She stopped talking 5 years ago. I don’t think she recognizes us that well. I’m also her caregiver. She had multiple silent mini strokes, she does’nt move her hand it’s compacted if that’s the correct word. I massage it with lotion but it looks like hurts her. I try to open her hand little by little and i’m afraid i’m hurting her and her index finger is dented from her thumb. I put a cloth in her hand everyday. please help….

  • Kate says:

    I was reading about the hand control tapping on a keyboard. My question is this the affected hand or the opposite hand index finger?

Find out if NeuroAiD™ is right for you. Ask your questions