Motor impairments

‌ This information was created by our in-house Occupational Therapist to help guide you through the process of what happens following a stroke.  The impairments you may develop following a stroke can be extremely frightening, even more so when you do not understand what they are, what they mean and what can be done about them.  The following articles aim to help explain this.

One of the most commonly affected areas of the brain following a stroke is the motor function of the brain.  Motor damage can be a result of any damage to the area of the brain which is involved in motor function.  Some of the most common terms and motor issues following a stroke include:

Paralysis – This is often referred to as hemiplegia which is complete paralysis of half of the body.

Hemiparesis – This is a weakness to one side of the body.  It is characterised by reduced muscle strength.  It is not complete paralysis however can still have a big impact of the management of day to day tasks and mobility.  It can result in reduced balance, inability to grasp objects, fatigue and reduced coordination.

Ataxia – this is the word used to describe a group of disorders that affect coordination, balance and speech.  This can have an impact on mobility, balance, swallowing, speech, fine motor tasks (such as writing) and vision.


The therapists may look at both remedial and compensatory strategies to improve function:

The remedial approach will look at helping the person gain back fluid movements and increasing their confidence.

The compensatory approach may look at providing aids to encourage independence such as the provision of a wheelchair, weighted cutlery, one handed dressing aids, one handed cooking aids.

In addition, compensatory techniques may be taught which include training on how to use the non-affected arm to assist with washing, dressing, feeding etc.



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