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.
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty walking
- Impaired ability to grasp objects
- Decrease in movement precision
- Muscle fatigue
- Lack of coordination
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.
- Modified constraint-induced therapy (mCIT). This therapy restricts use of a less affected part of your body, which forces you to use the weakened part of your body. Regular practice can improve nerve function.
- Electrical stimulation. Used in the treatment of one-sided weakness to enhance sensory awareness, strengthen a weakened body part (such as the arm, leg, hand, or foot) and improve range of motion.
- Cortical stimulation. An electrical stimulation of the part of your brain called the cortex. A tiny electrode is placed on the dura, the tough membrane that covers your brain. The electrode sends an electrical current to your brain while you undergo rehabilitation exercises.
- Imagery. Mental imagery or the process of imagining the movement of the affected part of the body activates areas of the brain and muscles as if you are actually doing an activity. The nerves in the brain involved in visualization and physical movement overlap, making this an effective activity when paired with other therapies in treating one-sided weakness.
- Assistive Devices. Braces, canes, walkers and wheelchairs can lead to increased strength and movement. An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) brace can help control your ankle and foot. A physical therapist can recommend the appropriate device. Training in safety procedures and the proper use of orthotics, including proper fit and maintenance, is essential.
- Grab bars
- Raised toilet seats
- Tub bench
- Hand-held shower head
- Plastic adhesive strips on the bottom of the bathtub
- Long-handled brushes, washing mitts with pockets for soap
- Electric toothbrushes and razors
- Remaining active
- Strengthening leg muscles and balance through exercises
- Wearing flat, wide-toed shoes
- Using a prescribed assistive device and not relying on furniture for support while walking
- Taking precautions when taking medications that cause drowsiness
- Paying close attention while walking