Passive range of motion (pROM) helps prevent joint contractures and maintain joint flexibility for the paralyzed limb. It is done by passively moving a limb through its available range of motion. The stroke survivor can perform the exercises alone or have a caregiver help. The following are examples of how to do self passive range of motion arm exercises without assistance from a caregiver.
Lying down, clasp your hands together to prepare for doing exercises.
Shoulder Flexion Forward
Raise hands straight up toward ceiling using your strong arm to help lift the weak or paralyzed arm. Bring hands back down to chest. Repeat 5-10 times.
Straight Arm Punches
Keeping arms straight, try to lift shoulder blades off of the bed or mat. Do not lift the head. Repeat 5-10 times.
Elbow Flexion and Extension
Bring hands to forehead, bending elbows, then straighten arms bringing hands back up toward ceiling. Repeat 5-10 times.
Shoulder Flexion Overhead
Keeping elbows straight raise arms overhead as far as it is comfortable. If your shoulder is subluxed (dropping down from the socket), then only bring arms straight up and not overhead (arms at 90 degree angle with body). Check with your occupational or physical therapist to see how to perform safe range of motion if your shoulder is subluxed. Also, if you feel pain, do not raise arm any higher. Stop at the point where you start to feel any discomfort in the shoulder. Repeat 5-10 times in a pain free range.
Shoulder External Rotation
If you are able to bring arms overhead comfortably and your physical or occupational therapist gives you the okay, try to place your hands behind your head and relax your elbows to the side(keeping hands clasped). Repeat 2-3 times. This exercise is difficult for many stroke patients. Do not attempt if you have pain or have been advised not to do this exercise by your therapist.
Wrist Flexion and Extension
Holding your arms straight up, bend your wrist slowly side to side. Repeat 5-10x.
Wrist Supination and Pronation
Turn weak hand palm up and then palm down. Repeat 5-10 times.
Finger Flexion and Extension
Bend fingers of weak hand into palm then straighten. Repeat 5-10 times. If hands are already fisted then only work on straightening fingers.