Operating with only one arm

My stroke was on the right side of my brain so affected my left side, leg and arm were impaired.

I struggle with walking and managed to dress with my right arm today. My walking is there but more Shaun of the dead than fluid movements. Making my self walk in daily Life as part of my rehab, use the stick out of the house to reduce risk of accident s.working on my left arm with rubber bands and gym tension pulling in the hope it wakes up and joins the party.how are others coping with the loss of one side or the other what are your

Update, managed a right arm dressing today and hobbld to the garden centre cafe from the car, still nee help cutting up my food but got a day out with my family so keeps my mental health in the right place

Hi there. At first my left arm and hand were useless. I was told though to utilise it as much as possible. Over time, it does more than it did, but the fingers lack sensitivity. I can’t hold a fork or lift anything heavy. I call it my ‘steadying’ hand as I can push things against it like a basin whilst relying on my good hand to do the main work. The arm and hand have an inclination to jerk and can sweep a mug off a table in no time. Weirdly, I can use my left hand to cut the nails on my right. This is done with sharp nail scissors so care is needed. My left shoulder feels frozen but it isn’t. The shoulder works despite feeling paralyses. It’s a matter of continuing to exercise whilst living with the disability I’m afraid.

Hi, I’m 5 years post stroke which paralysed my left side. Like you I walk daily as part of my rehab. With my husband’s help I also do some type of work on my arm on a daily basis. I use a Saebo Stim One (wireless Wearable Stimulation) and more recently have been using a GripAble machine. Unfortunately despite all of our efforts, my arm still has no functional movement.

I have also volunteered to take part in a research project involving upper limbs through Different Strokes, in the hope that it might help, if not me, maybe stroke survivors in the future.

I will never give up trying to regain some movement in my arm but do struggle to stay motivated and at times feel very down about my situation.
Keep up the good work and never give up.
Regards Sue

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Thanks Jeff, need to make my left hand door currently only used for holding a yoghurt pot or the like really quite dead , the shoulder work s so hoping for recovery in the nearNFuture

Thanks for sharing Sue you have explored a lot of options available,the persistence is to your credit I like you get down at the state of the arm , but it does move very slightly and has strength so am expecting it to be a brain repair waiting game, but apply electric stimulation to the arm every here is hoping we both have a reason to celebrate soon.

Try and do small movement with the affected arm like dusting the brain is learning to be rewired I know its frustrating is also had a shock good luck

Looking at the low percentage of stroke survivors that get full functionality backi am not holiout much hope of my arm doing much will be glad if o get basic movements from it to aid dressing or cutting my food and operating a gear stick…

Time will tell and it is early days so hope is still alive

I had my stroke 8 yrs ago and lost the use of my dominant right hand. It was quite a blow. I had to learn to do everything left handed. I have sort of accepted that my right hand will never be able to do what it once did. I haven’t been able to raise my arm above shoulder height since my stroke, but I am slowly building up the strength and hopefully it won’t be long until I can achieve that. They always say the hand is the last thing to come back, so I do the exercises and stay hopeful. Repetition is the key to neuroplasticity, so keep at it!

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The title of this thread somehow makes think of a very determined surgeon, just having had a massive stroke, waving around a handful of scalpels, lurching into theatre, with a collection of nurses surrounding him trying to hold him down.

I do apologise for my macabre imagination. Try not to be scared, I’m certain it couldn’t really happen,
. . . at least I don’t think it could.

. . . cue Alfred Hitchcock music.

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I lost use of my right arm, leg and hearing initially. The hearing has not improved but by hard work and exercise I got arm and leg moving. I was determined to get back to playing guitar but initially couldn’t hold a pick. To improve my grip I joined a spare plectrum to a plastic milk bottle and would see how far I could carry it with a little water in it. Every week I would add to the water level and the target was to walk around the block without dropping it. The neighbours must have thought I was mad!
The madness paid off eventually but it took nearly a year before the thumb and first finger’s grip improved. I still have to use thick bodied pens to write with and my cutlery is chosen for its thick handles.


@Deigh I also have problems with my right side. I can wiggle my hand and arm a bit but with only limited effect. What interests me is the fact you can use a pen.
I was right handed and have effectively lost the ability to write and draw. I have been struggling to manage left handed but the result is very crude. It had not occurred to me to attempt to recover my right-hand writing ability but your achievements were a light bulb moment for me.
I’m sure any early attempts at right hand dexterity will be minimal and not particularly rewarding, but it does seem a worthwhile endeavour, or occupation. At this moment I’m tapping in the letters on my computer with my left hand. Perhaps, as an exercise, I should be trying to use my ‘weak’ right hand. (the index finger on my right hand is ‘itching’ to go)
Anyway, many thanks Deigh for inspiring me to try another path on my road to, if not recovery, ‘improvement’.

this line written laboriously with middle finger of right hand

YAY ! ! !

thanks, Deigh :smiley: :+1:


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Sadly the limb is incapable of any useable movement I can hold the odd yoghurt pot but the arm has no basic operation, the brain doesn’t know it is attached it’s like being touched by a stranger. Quite horrible.
Thanks Jeff I will persevere I can raise the left arm as if to drink but no further and some effort, the thumb and fingers can all be moved I have grip the electrical stimulation seems to have been a key driver in this so it gets zapped every evening and slowly I wil get it back.

Good luck with your recovery too

Thanks for the insight great determination and a clear path for many to try and emulate.good luck,

I just wanted to mention the Upper Limb Program, which is a 3 week intensive course run by UCLH at Queen Square, Bloomsbury. It is available to anyone via GP referral. I went about 4 years ago and it was excellent!
I think they have a bit of a waiting list due to the pandemic, but it is worth the wait.

I’m thinking of going again, if I can.

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The right hand is now working pretty well. I used to practice handwriting daily , the left hand writing a sentence and then the left hand writing the same. My left hand got fluid fairly quickly but to be able to even hold a pen with the right was difficult to the extreme. I found the best solution was to seek out large bodied pens and ended up with quite a selection. I carry one in a pocket always now because one often has to sign a document and to be offered the regular thin pen was a disaster.

I found that the hand needed a strong arm to back it so I pulled my old fly fishing rod from the shed and practiced dry fly casting in the driveway, If neighbours jokingly asked if I’d caught anything I’d reply 'No, you are the first today!"
I bought some six inch nails and every day would hammer one into a dead stump in the garden. My first attempt took 50 blows, many of which missed completely. After six months I’d got this down to 11.
These are only a few of the tricks I got up to to improve the strength of the right hand. I have written a journal about my recovery and added to my life memoir book which I do not intend to publish!

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I did similar exercises that you mentioned with my left, affected, hand/arm. I also used rehab putty, and would sit and squeeze and pinch at it for about 15 minutes at night while I watched TV. It all really worked–took months, but I play ukulele now. I started out with my whole left side totally paralyzed. P.S. The putty can be ordered on the internet. It comes in different “strengths”, so you can start out with real soft putty and build up to harder putty.

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Sorry I’m a bit late to the party but thought I’d share my experience of regaining use of my left arm (non dominant side).
Whilst I was still in hospital the physio encouraged me to do everything left handed. If I moved something with my right hand she put it back & made me do it again with my left…and again and again and again. If she saw me typing a text she’d shout left hand at me. Every time she passed my bed & saw me using my right hand she’d shout left hand at me. It drove me mad but I am glad she did it now.
When I got home I sat and put pegs on the side of a tub & then put them in the tub, repeating it for 15 mins at a time. It wasn’t always successful but got it in the end.
I also started moving jigsaw pieces from bottom of box to lid & back again. I then bought a colour by numbers book & started colouring using my affected hand. Not pretty but over time has improved loads.
All I would say is just keep trying. You’ll get frustrated, you’ll drop things (I threw my Yoghurt down me & the sofa) but in time hopefully perseverance will pay off.


How is the upper limb doing now

How long after stroke till yo saw benefits

Initially no movement in my left arm then at around year1 I could raise it with extreme effort towards my mouth but the hand clenching badly by year 2.5 it got slightly easier and I could ever so minutely move each finger , thumb the best , since then nothing more hopefully something basic in arm movement will come but it iall brain related