How Do I Get My Hand Better After a Stroke?

Hand Reaching For Chocolate Chip Loaf

After a stroke or brain injury many people have difficulty using their hand and arm. Occupational therapists use everyday activities to help your hand and arm get better. There is good research to show that using your hand and arm in everyday activities is the best way to improve the use of your hand and arm.

One way occupational therapists do this is called task specific training. An OT will work with you to identify some of your daily activities that are more important to you. For example you might want to type on your computer. If your OT recommends task specific training you will practice typing repetitively, completing as many repetitions as you can. Depending on your arm and hand function this might mean repetitively typing one letter, one word, or one sentence.

Task specific training is the best intervention for improving your arm and hand function for specific tasks. But, there is also good research to demonstrate that practicing using your arm in everyday life is important as well. Occupational therapists might use an evidence based intervention called strategy training to help you problem solve how to do the daily activities that you might want to do most. Maybe you not only want to be able to type on your computer, but you want to email your friends, return to work, or start a blog. Occupational therapy can help you problem solve how to achieve your goals. By participating in the activities that are most important to us we naturally learn to use our arms and hands more!

If you would like to learn more about how occupational therapy can help you improve your arm and hand function, contact Moxie OT today!

Wolf, T. J., Doherty, M., Boone, A., Rios, J., Polatajko, H., Baum, C., & McEwen, S. (2021). Cognitive oriented strategy training augmented rehabilitation (COSTAR) for ischemic stroke: a pilot exploratory randomized controlled study. Disability and Rehabilitation, 43(2), 201–210. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2019.1620877