3 Easy At Home Physiotherapy Exercises For Brain Injury Survivors
Hello There, VivBounty here with 3 easy physiotherapy excercises my sister, a stroke survivor was just given by her physiotherapist. Her brain injury was 16 years ago. In the interim she has had various therapies, occupational, pool program and several surgeries to improve mobility, but lacking consistency and progression of mobility since the injury.
Finding her daughter lethargic and her mobility regressing as the years have passed, her primary caregiver, our mother decided to take matters in hand. It took some doing and finally she found a wonderful physiotherapist outside their home whose own mother is a stroke survivor. This young man was inspired to his chosen profession as a result of his mother's experience. He works with patients deep in stroke paralysis state and advocates that every little exercise and movement you do pumps blood to the brain.
I had a phone call yesterday from her after her second session to tell me how excited she was and that for the first time in 16 years she has hope. She is "on cloud nine" as she put it and "nothing's going to stop her now". She briefly described a little of each exercise as short term memory is a common challenge for brain injury survivors, and said how she was swinging her hips, while holding the grocery as Mum and our sister took her shopping after therapy. Our middle sister then grabbed the phone and gave me the complete exercise regimen prescribed and how they were going to make it work with what they had at home.
Walk along kitchen tiles
Swing Your Hips In a Little Dance
1. Hands Down For Balance-Stand Up-Walk-Swing Hips
1. Stand up, put the left hand down for balance as she tends to hold it bent and up under her neck causing a leaning to the right. Again common in brain injury survivors. Shift weight to her left leg (weak side) and balance on it for a couple of seconds. Bring feet closer together, putting left foot first, walk a straight line (at first with Mum holding her at the waist lightly for support on left side (her default has been to hold anyone using her trusted stronger right arm, somtimes like a vice grip and we are all 4 inches shorter than her), eventually on her own as balance improves. At each end stop and with legs shoulder width apart swing hips from right to left as when dancing. She loves to dance so I told her to remember when we did the merenge on the catamaran on our vacation in the Dominican Republic. Repeat 10 times. Middle sister, with her logic came up with using the length of kitchen and following the line of the floor tiles. This has 2 benefits, the first being the walking balance and the second making her look down which is something she has avoided doing since her injury and caused her to trip up many times. Again this is common with brain injury/stroke survivors.
2. Sitting down-Getting Up Poperly
Sitting down and getting up properly. She tends to approach a chair, turn her strong side towards it, holding the chair arm or table to brace herself backing up until the back of her right knee touches the chair, lowers herself down at an angle onto her right cheek immediately crossing weak leg over strong one. The therapist advises to back up straight against the chair until the back of both knees touch the chair and then lower herself using her quad cane or table for support facing straight forward. Slide all the way back in the chair fully sitting on both cheeks. Stand up again using cane or table if sitting to a meal, for support and sit down straight again 10 times.
3. Lie Flat On Back-Bend Knees-Slide Heels Up
3. Lying flat on her back. Legs together, bend knees sliding heels up towards buttocks. Then slide heels back down slowly straightening legs again. The therapist advised putting plastic bags on her feet once she's laying down to facilitate the sliding. Repeat 10 times. Mum was a bit worried about this one as we have never been able to get our sister all the way down onto the floor and back up again. I remember putting her in a tub about 5 years into her stroke recovery as she so loved a soak. Well it took two of us to get her out and fits of hysterical giggling before we figured out that this was not a good idea. Again our logical sister took over here and came up with removing the sofa cushions and having her do the exercises on the supportive plywood board under them.
Lay on Sofa For Knee Bends
A large reason for adding a therapist outside the home was to free some time up for Mum as caregivers can tend to forget themselves and certainly as a mother, it's really difficult for her to take time alone. There is a busy roster of physical and occupational therapists along with homecare personnel who have to be coordinated in their home so it was becoming an overwhelming concept to now make a slot to help her daughter with these home physiotherapy exercises. So why not incorporate the homework with the current schedule of therapists, our calm assuring sister suggested? Thus it was implemented and as she leaves them after a week with Mum and our miracle sister, they settle in to a very doable routine both gaining independence one little step at a time on their own safari to success for which we are truly grateful given the distance they live from us.
Safari to Success
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