Suffering from a stroke can be a significant, life-changing event. Depending how fast care is received during a stroke, the ailment’s damage can range tremendously from recoverable physical limitations to entire body limbs being struck useless for years. One such result of a stroke involves what looks like claw hands, when the victim’s hands are contorted into seeming claw-like positions due to muscle paralysis.
When a stroke hits, it disrupts the brain’s ability to send signals to the body and its muscle groups. This nerve damage can sometimes cause the fingers in the hand curl and bend into positions that look like animalistic claws. The hands don’t relax, and it can be painful to force the fingers to straighten out.
Initial treatment of a claw hand condition first involves a physician’s examination to confirm the situation is actually a result of a stroke. This may also involve examining the patient’s previous medical history and the extent of physical curvature occurring in the hand digits. The patient can then be assigned by the doctor to nerve studies or electromyography treatment.
In many cases rehabilitation treatment involves providing artificial electrical stimulation to help affected muscle groups avoid freezing up. Part of the treatment is intended to jump-start the body’s own healing process to rewire the affected muscles, but this method doesn’t often work.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, continued work in motor therapy combined with electrical stimulation of affected muscle groups has showed promise for stroke recovery (see Reference 3). However, physical challenges tend to become emphasized if the treatment is not provided within 6 months after the stroke. In some cases the treatment can result in chronic pain and irregular movement behavior.
Biomove: How Stroke Rehabilitation Works http://www.biomove.com/how-biomove-stroke-therapy-works.html
Healthline: Claw Hand http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/claw-hand
U.S. National Institutes of Health – Clinical Trials: Treatment of Hand Dysfunction After Stroke: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: January 2011. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00508521