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Hemiparesis is weakness on one side of the body. You can still move the affected side of your body, but with reduced muscular strength. Health care professionals such as physical therapists and occupational therapists play a large role in assisting you in your recovery from hemiparesis. Treatment is focused on improving feeling and motor skills, allowing you to better manage your daily living.
What is Hemiparesis?
Hemiparesis or one-sided (“hemi”) weakness (“paresis) affects about 8 out of 10 stroke survivors, causing weakness or the inability to move one side of the body. One-sided weakness can affect your arms, hands, legs and facial muscles. If you have one-sided weakness you may have trouble performing everyday activities such as eating, dressing, and using the bathroom. Rehabilitation treatments, exercises at home, and assistive devices can help with your mobility and recovery.
One-sided weakness in your arms, hands, face, chest, legs or feet can cause:
The location in the brain where your stroke occurred will determine where in the body you experience weakness. Injury to the left side of the brain, which controls language and speaking, can result in right-sided weakness. Left-sided weakness results from injury to the right side of the brain, which controls our nonverbal communication and certain types of behavior.
Can Hemiparesis be treated?
It is possible for you to increase or regain strength and movement on the affected side with rehabilitation. Working with a physiatrist, physical therapist and/or occupational therapist has proven to have a favorable impact on hemiparesis and mobility.
A variety of treatments are used to help improve the use and movement in your affected arms and legs. These include the following:
This procedure consists of placing small electrical pads on the weakened muscles of your affected body part. An electrical charge helps your muscles contract as you work to make it move. Many of these electrical stimulation devices are covered by insurance and can be used at home.
Tips to live with hemiparesis
In addition to rehabilitation treatment, exercise at home and assistive aids can help increase mobility. Repeated practice and regular activity will help increase control and flexibility and re-establish nerve circuitry. You can learn specific activities to do at home that will help continue recovery after inpatient therapy. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting these exercises.
Making home modifications such as the following can improve your safety:
Making simple lifestyle changes can help prevent falls and promote a healthier recovery. Some examples include:
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