Hope for Paralyzed Arm?

Joyce Hoffman
About the Author: Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. With the help of her team, Joyce created this newsletter inspired by the format of Dear Abby. The newsletter is a dialog with Joyce on issues only a survivor could fully understand.You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce Wrote in https://dearjoyceqanda.blogspot.com

Dear Joyce,

What are the chances of my arm, that hasn’t move at all after a hemorrhagic stroke, getting better? I’ve been doing exercises on and off for 5 years and I occasionally fell. 

I was told that I have a three-month window from the date I had the stroke for improvement to happen. Is that the standard now?

Concerned in Dallas

Dear Concerned,

Most occupational therapists who were recently trained starting about five years ago and later don’t say that phrase anymore about windows for improvement. The reason? It’s not necessarily true. 

Some people improve constantly whereas others, no matter what they do, improve slowly or, at some future point, stop improving. Putting a very narrow timeline for improvement is just harsh and takes away the motivation to improve. That’s why a common saying is, Don’t give up!

Falling in the biggest barrier for improvement. Aside from getting the initial shock, falling takes people back a step or two. Then people try again with a few days rest but, for example, they aren’t where they were a month ago.

The most important thing you said: “I’ve been doing exercises on and off for 5 years.” Keep doing the exercises that have been given to you constantly as long as you have zero chance of falling. Consistency will sometimes pay off! Or maybe you’re at that point where improvement has stopped. 

If you have insurance, or can afford to pay out-of-pocket, see an Occupational Therapist (OT) another time. Maybe there are exercises you haven’t tried yet. If it’s possible, I found that a variety of OTs can have a different spin on the same function.

Time will tell.