NEOFECT rehabilitation devices close the gap between what we know from current stroke research and what is happening in actual life. Since the 1990s onward, there is robust evidence to support intensive, repetitive, task-specific training to improve function of the hand and arm for people who have had a stroke . Yet, even with this strong evidence of massed practice, there continues to be hindrances in practical application.
When it comes to intensive, repetitive training, attending weekly therapy is not enough, and the focus has shifted to implementing home exercise programs, which create a multitude of obstacles including time and motivation; as well as inability to have feedback on proper form and upgrading/downgrading exercises for optimal rehabilitation potential. There are also many people who have been discharged from therapy that are trying to implement exercises on their own and have no clear guidance for what activities to do.
That's where the NEOFECT Smart Glove, Smart Board, and Pegboard come in. They provide a virtual reality experience to support and motivate you to complete the repetitions and intensity needed to create neuroplasticity. But everyone is in a different stage of recovery. How do you know which device is right for you?
NEOFECT Smart Board
When we look at the development of arm and hand function from infancy as well as recovery post stroke, we notice clear patterns starting with gross movements to more refined movements. We need stability in bigger muscles to successfully use smaller muscles, which is why movement of the shoulder and elbow typically happen before functional movement of the hand and fingers.
The hemiplegic shoulder can be tight and painful and limit hand function. The NEOFECT Smartboard targets the muscles of the shoulder and elbow and can be a good option to gain mobility and strength in the shoulder in preparation for using the muscles of the wrist and fingers. It’s set up in a gravity eliminated plane, which allows a person who is only able to shrug their shoulders or push a towel across a table able to use it and build up strength.
If you don’t have movement in your wrist or fingers, but do have visible movement in the shoulder or elbow, the Smart Board would be good for you!
If you do have movement in your wrist or fingers, but you also want to work on your shoulder and elbow, you might benefit from both the Smart Board and the Smart Glove!
NEOFECT Smart Glove
The NEOFECT Smartglove targets the muscles of the forearm, wrist, and fingers. When we look at functional tasks, we use a combination of muscles and movements, but depending on the area of the brain that was affected by the stroke, certain signals aren’t getting through to certain muscles. There are typical patterns of muscle tightening post stroke that make turning the hand over, extending the wrist, and opening and closing the fingers difficult. By isolating those movements with intensive repetitions we can rewire the brain to send stronger signals to the muscles to activate and with practice turn these movements into improved ability to complete tasks independently.
Targeting the muscles of the forearm, wrist, and fingers is essential for functionally using the hand. When we pick up an item, it’s very difficult to have any force in our fingers to grasp an item if our wrist is flexed downward. It’s very difficult to be able to stabilize a water bottle or access our cell phone if we’re unable to turn our hand over.
If you have even the slightest movement to turn your hand over or move your wrist or fingers, you might benefit from the Smartglove. The sensors can track this movement and the software uses artificial intelligence to allow you to be successful at a game within your abilities and will push you just a little bit harder to move a little bit further. It’s all about finding that “just right challenge”.
If you have pretty good movement of your wrist and fingers, you might still benefit from the Smartglove. Intensive repetitions are the key to neuroplasticity, but also strength and endurance. If you’re looking to improve your dexterity, you might benefit from both the Smartglove and the Pegboard.
A basic pegboard has been used as a tool in therapy for decades. It requires multiple repetitions of grasp and release in a specific way. There are a lot of ways the hand can get a peg in a hole, so it also develops problem-solving for functional tasks. The problem is that a pegboard is boring and isn’t a meaningful activity, which is also key in rehabilitation. The Smart Pegboard gamifies this motor skill to increase dexterity, timing, and coordination. You have to practice, practice, practice to get good at picking up something and letting it go to develop the ability button your pants, tie shoes, and zip up a zipper.
If you have really good active movement of your hand, but struggle with fine motor skills the Pegboard is a great option for you. But don’t forget that the key to hand use is in the bigger muscles first, and the Smartglove might also be beneficial to build strength in the wrist, which will allow you to use your fingers better.
NEOFECT occupational therapists are available to consult, if you still aren’t sure what stage of rehabilitation you might be at. We want to make sure we maximize your rehabilitation and find what works for you. Let’s get you where you want to be!
- Adey-Wakeling, Z., & Crotty, M. (2013). Upper limb rehabilitation following stroke: Current evidence and future perspectives. Aging Health, 9(6), 629-647. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/ahe.13.67
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