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Phantom pain, balance, spastic motion in hand, mouth problems

Question: In 2014 I suffered a brain lesion that left me with spastic hand motion in my left hand and milder issues in my left leg. After trying tetrabenazine for about a year, the expense and minimal effect made me quit that. While my doctors thought it would heal, it hasn't. though it has improved.


In 2016, I had a small stroke in the thalamus area of my brain. That left me with phantom pain (numbness) in my right index finger and thumb. It also left me with some numbness around my lips, affecting my speech. I also have balance problems.

What neuroplastic exercises can I do to address these issues?

Thanks,
Mike

Answer: Some exercises that have been done to help with hand pain are Graded Motor Imagery exercises which consists of laterality training, motor imagery, and mirror therapy. You can read about this technique at www.gradedmotorimagery.com. When I have patients that have numbness in the fingers, I often use sensory re-education along with fine motor activities. These can be viewed at www.stroke-rehab.com/sensory-re-education.html and www.stroke-rehab.com/hand-exercises.html.

I would advise you to check with a speech language pathologist regarding exercises or sensory re-education for the facial numbness and with an OT regarding your hand issues. You can also ask your physician or OT/SLP about NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) to see if it might be appropriate or helpful.

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