A study published in the journal of Neurophysiology shows that arm exercises helps stroke patients improve their walking ability even weeks and months after the occurrence of stroke. The researchers at the University of British Columbia, Canada did the study on a group of adults who were prone to stroke in the period of 7 months and 17 years before the commencement of the study.
A training session was organized and the physical abilities of the volunteers was measured before and after the training which included a six minute walk daily to measure the distance covered in that time, 10 meter walk with a timer on to find out how fast a person can cover the distance and finally again another timer based activity which included getting up from a seated position, walking 10 meters and coming back the same distance.
The researchers also checked the stretch reflexes, electrical activity in muscles in wrists and lower legs through walking and cycling tests.
The researchers observed that the participants show good improvement in their performance particularly in the time up and go test. There was no notable improvement in grip strength of participants but the participants showed less tightness in muscles after their cycling trial.
Even their nerve activity levels showed improvement during the arm cycling task. As per the researchers, it also activated inter-limb networks and contributed to rhythmic walking coordination. In short, the arm nerved activated and helped in improving the spinal chords functioning in areas affected by stroke like legs.
The researchers added that these results are a positive sign about improvements in walking ability even afters years of having a stroke. The researchers did say that walking improvement could not be compared to other training modalities, arm training did play a significant role in human locomotion rehabilitation.
The department of physiotherapy was established in 2003 at RajaRajeswari Medical College and Hospital to cater to the preventive, creative, therapeutic and rehabilitation needs of the rural people need was felt to impart the much needed physiotherapy vocational and rehabilitation training programme.