Hi, Lara777, sorry to hear about your sister suffering from stroke and need to undergo the surgery. How is she doing now? Is she on any medication? It is better to start the physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational and massage therapy as soon as possible as it requires couple of months to regain the muscle strength. You need to have patience, as she will progress slowly. Gentle massage, routine exercises and heat therapy can be continued till a physical therapist works on her soon. Also she can be assessed by the attending neurophysician/neurosurgeon for the progress and advice. Take care and share your thoughts.
If she can use a gym or 'Y' then the weight machines that are set up to use both arms are helpful, Start on the lightest weight, then remove the unaffected arm and try to keep going, if needed use the unaffected arm to help move the affected arm. The important thing here is for her to visually see her affected arm working, she has to try to use her brain to move the arm. Having the affected just go along for the ride will not produce any benefit except maybe to make sure that the arm has full range of motion. An exercise bike or elliptical with moving arms is also helpful. Talk to her therapists to get stretching exercises to make sure she doesn't get contractures. Rowlands website is very good
This is what I do with my cane on a daily basis
Putting the grip handle of my cane in my affected hand, I grabbed the lower part of the cane with the unaffected hand and used that to push my affected arm up. First straight in front of me , then to the side and eventually to the rear. I would try to get my affected hand to the level of my head, After a while I could get it well above my head. Next step was to move the arm around in a semicircle around my body as it was up in the air. I first had to use the unaffected arm to push the affected arm around but was able to get the affected arm moving by itself. I think this has helped both my arm swing and relaxing my biceps. This de-weighting of the arm has led to other similar advances.
For working on my triceps I used my cane also. First sit down on a chair and place your cane in front of you, affected hand on the grip, tip on the ground, starting out you can use your unaffected hand to fully extend your affected arm. As you get better at this you will be able to use your affected arm only to extend your arm and then pull it back. I started out by doing 50 reps of these nightly, ended up doing them also when waiting at a bus stop bench, or when sitting in a waiting room. For working on your shoulder muscles when your arm is extended straight in front of you,move your arm to the right and left, seeing how far down you can go. By using the cane in these manners I am carrying around my exercise equipment all day long. Now if I could figure out something for my fingers.
12mths ago, my 14yr daughter had a basal ganglia stroke, seven days later she had a hemorrhagic stroke (right side). Very severe. As a result of the brain injury she needed ot, speech, physiotherapy. As she is an adolescent she was treated as a mature age patient. The therapists here is Australia gave me worksheets, fact sheets, laminated pictures on how to do the exercises. If you wish I can post these to you. As funds are tight and time is of the essence you should get small hand held weights (500g to 1kg).Lift towards yourself elbow bent three sets of 5. Do this is all directions of the arm. She'll get fatigued super super quickly. Get various sized and strength grip balls, roll them, squeeze them, pinch them, Finger to finger eg little finger to thumb, ring finger to thumb etc these are vitally important to keep movement in the fingers, eat tiny jelly beans with your affect hand, pick up beads, beans whatever. Spasticity makes things much more difficult, this happens when movement is restricted. Sit on a chair feet flat, lift toes towards you, 5 times, then toes flat lift heels, stretching is crucial. Get bicycle tyre inserts. Really tight one, wrap each end around your arm (by your I mean your sister) pull out 5 times, pull up 5 times, pull down, above your head, all the spectrum of movement you would normally have pre stroke. If your sister can't get movement going you help you move her body. For the face smile full smile this makes all the muscles in the face move. Purse lips. Lift eyebrows, keep at it even when you see nothing happening. It takes time. Try to frown.
I know how it feels I'm 17 and pralized in my right arm I been this way for about 8 months I was in a arc wreck hit a dog going 50 it happened so fast I couldn't blink and I was air lifed and on life aupport for 5 days and had heart surgery it's no joke when people laugh at you and make fun of your arm cuz it's different and when you have a job and your boss fires you over your one arm it hurts bad but I keep a smile on my face all day if you want to ask questions email me at ***@****
Sorry to hear about your sister.
I , too, had a stroke at age 47 (from a car wreck) back in 2007.
The best advice I can give your sister is
to KEEP trying to use her affected side.
Even if the movement is not useful to her
(i.e. can't use hand to pick up things)
Keep using your paralyzed side,
and it WILL get better.
Stop using it and it WON'T.
I did have a bit more movement with my
left arm/hand some years ago,
but I got frustrated because it was not usable,
and started moving my left arm with my right(my good arm)
Now (2014) I have practically no voluntary movement
with my left arm/hand.
However, I can walk with a 4 pronged cane,
and can shower myself with a shower chair.
I have a friend who just couldn't handle rehab
after her stroke, so she gave up and went to bed.
That was over 10 years ago and now
she'll be bedridden for the rest of her life
and she's only 64.
Please tell your sister from me to
PLEASE KEEP TRYING!
And don't tell her what my sister did,
when I told her that my left leg was
probably going to be as it is for life.
She told me to 'cut it off and get a prosthetic.'
I asked her how my brain was going to
control a prosthetic if it couldn't even
control my real leg!
She meant well, but didn't really
understand the repercussions of a stroke.
I wish you and Leina the best, and
ramp up your patience, because you're going
to need it!