Reclaim Mobility With Leg Exercises For Stroke Recovery

Jeff Jensen
Monday, September 28th, 2015


Reclaim Mobility With Leg Exercises For Stroke Recovery

Stroke recovery can be a long process. Managing the ongoing need to rebuild bodily control and strength after neurological damage is no easy task. Each year nearly 800,000 people in the United States alone will suffer from a stroke, leaving them with ongoing physical and neurological damage.

If you have suffered from a stroke, loss of balance and control can make standing and walking difficult. While outpatient stroke recovery therapy is vital to improving this problem, you can also continue improving after returning home with the help of home stroke recovery leg exercises.

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The Stroke Belt

Jeff Jensen
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015



Strokes aren’t always predictable or preventable. However, there are many different traits and habits that overwhelmingly correspond to higher risks, so it’s easier than ever to determine your individual risk factors. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added another factor to the list when they began to collect and compare data about strokes in each individual state.

The CDC confirmed decades’ worth of evidence that strokes consistently occur in some regions more than others. Their research also unveiled some startlingly specific risks: eleven states had unusually high stroke rates and mortality rates. Following this revelation, several organizations have conducted research to compare stroke prevalence, care costs, mortality rates, behavioral risks, and other factors on a state-by-state basis.

If you’re worried about your odds because you live in the Stroke Belt, or if you’re curious about the risk factors that seem to converge in these states, it might help to understand the data they’ve collected and the theories that attempt to explain it.  

What Is The Stroke Belt?

The eleven states within the Stroke Belt share more than just higher stroke risks. They’re all adjoined, and they comprise most of the southeastern region of the United States. They include:

  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia



The entire Stroke Belt reports incidence rates about 18% higher than national averages. Risks are also higher for otherwise low-risk groups in these states, such as people younger than 50. However, stroke risks increase further in a very specific section of the Stroke Belt. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) zeroed in on the “buckle”, a strip of land along the eastern coastline where stroke mortality rates are twice as high as the national average.

North Florida and East Texas, both of which share borders with multiple states in the Stroke Belt, also report higher stroke mortality rates. However, most studies confine the phenomenon to the states in which strokes are more common and dangerous in every region, so they’re usually not included in the official Stroke Belt data.

Nurse measuring the patient's blood-pressure.

Why Are Risks Higher In The Stroke Belt?

To some, the self-contained nature of the Stroke Belt – which is connected and only bleeds into a few other states – suggests regional causes or correlations, rather than state-specific risk factors. These may include climate or immigration patterns that cross state borders, cultural similarities that stem from shared histories, and even population density. However, it’s still important to focus on the specific factors that usually increase stroke risks and how they relate to the Stroke Belt.

Health Care Access

Rural communities have fewer hospitals and health care providers than urban and suburban communities. Because Stroke Belt states aren’t as densely populated as their northern and western neighbors, limited healthcare access could play a role in the elevated number of stroke fatalities. Early diagnosis of health problems, regular blood pressure checks, and preventative treatments can seriously lower your stroke risks, but only if you have regular access to these services.

Economic status also affects the quality and frequency of heath care visits. When public transportation isn’t available to access faraway facilities in sparsely populated states, economic health disparities get even more significant.


African Americans and Hispanics have higher stroke risks than Caucasians, and the southern United States has a higher percentage of these ethnicities. While researchers are still debating the origins of these ethnicity-specific risks – some are economic, others biological – it’s obvious that stroke rates are lower in states with higher percentages of Caucasians.

However, the CDC’s research suggests that Caucasians within the Stroke Belt’s “buckle” are also twice as likely to die from strokes. This eliminates the ethnic distinctions between the region and the rest of the country, and suggests cultural or geographic factors that are far more influential than race.


The Stroke Belt overlaps significantly with the Diabetes Belt, another at-risk cluster of states that has been on the CDC’s radar since 2011. Because inactivity and obesity increase your risk of both diseases, it’s not surprising that both traits are common in the communities who populate these states. If you live in a southeastern state, it doesn’t mean you have less control over your diet or exercise regimen. However, it’s important to be aware of unhealthy traditions and patterns within your community.

Culturally, the correlation makes sense. Southern climates and ecosystems are associated with fatty cooking and slower lifestyles. These stereotypes may not account for the global influences that now affect every American, but they do affect the social norms and lifestyles of families who have occupied these states for multiple generations.

Staying Healthy In The Stroke Belt

So far, state-specific stroke data has given the medical community greater insight into regional differences and allowed them to identify new at-risk communities. However, data collection is ongoing, and individual risk factors aren’t limited to the state in which you live.

It’s still not clear if or how geographic location directly affects your stroke risks. However, location is one of many different factors that high-risk communities often share, so it’s important to be aware of your odds and take steps to lower them.

If you live in the Stroke Belt or belong to any other demographic with a higher rate of strokes, such as smokers or people older than 55, you still have the power to make diet and behavioral changes to decrease your risks.

The Stages of Stroke Recovery

Jeff Jensen
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Stages of Stroke Recovery

Life after a stroke can be challenging. Many patients wonder if they will ever fully recover their muscle coordination, or how long or difficult the process of recovery may be. Fortunately, the field of occupational and physical therapy has come a long way in developing approaches that help patients regain controlled muscle movement after a stroke.

There are seven recognized stages of stroke recovery through which every patient progresses. Also known as the Brunnstrom Approach, the seven stages framework views spastic and involuntary muscle movement as part of the process and uses them to aid in rehabilitation.  

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Saebo, Inc. Launches New Website & Improved SaeboGlove Product

Friday, August 28th, 2015

New, improved website provides education, resources, and improved products such as the SaeboGlove

Charlotte, N.C. –Saebo announces today the official launch of, a new, improved website dedicated to the company’s full product line which includes the updated SaeboGlove as well as far-reaching educational resources designed for individuals, therapists, and families suffering from or caring for those who experience impaired mobility and function.

Over the last ten years, Saebo has grown into a leading global provider of rehabilitative products. Saebo has helped approximately 200,000 clients regain function; they are growing this commitment to patient care, affordability, and accessibility even further through the education and resources available via the new website.

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“It was amazing to see just how well the SaeboFlex was able to work for my patient”

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Alyssa Villarreal

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 3 1/2 years, working in an outpatient clinic. I have had the opportunity to work with many patients who have experienced a stroke but regardless of intervention strategies I tried, I have always been unsatisfied with the progress we have made by the time the patient is discharged (usually based off of insurance limitations from hitting a level of plateaued progress).

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“The Saebo products gave me hope”

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Mariah Essom

I suffered from a stroke on 10/5/13 at 28 years old. I was on my way to a hair salon appointment. When I pulled into the parking lot, I suddenly felt my right side go numb. As I tried to get out of my car, I collapsed, unable to stand. My right side felt unresponsive. I could not move- all I could do was wait and cry until someone noticed me.

When I did not respond to his text messages, my hairdresser, Nico, came out to the parking lot to find me lying on the ground. When I couldn’t answer, he called the paramedics. The police arrived first, and quickly sent me to the hospital. I passed out in the ambulance on the way there.

At the hospital, I underwent a craniotomy to remove the blood clot that had formed in my brain. It was a hemorrhage in my left-frontal lobe.

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Clinical Examination of the Painful Hemiplegic Shoulder

Henry Hoffman
Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Successful clinical outcomes are typically the result of the therapist’s ability to perform a thorough and accurate examination. In order to diagnose and prescribe lesion specific treatment, a clinician must not only be knowledgeable with the musculoskeletal system and how to systematically examine the affected joint, but feel confident with interpreting the results. Without an accurate assessment using proven orthopedic-based diagnostic techniques, pain and disability can persist unnecessarily for months or years. In a previous article, we looked at the biomechanics, pathoanatomy and pathomechanics of the hemiplegic shoulder. Today, I would like to continue this series by reviewing the clinical examination of the painful neurological shoulder.

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Strengthening a Spastic Muscle. Why the Kerfuffle?

Henry Hoffman
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Not as much now, but in the recent past, discussing strength training a hyperactive or spastic muscle was a very controversial topic amongst clinicians at happy hour, in the clinic, or at CEU’s. For many, the thought of having upper motor neuron lesion clients squeeze their hyperactive finger flexors or flex their spastic biceps in the late 1980-90’s (and earlier) would have made many clinicians cringe. The visual that comes to mind for me is something out of a CSI show, but instead of a homicide, you were looking at a clinical “assault and battery” where security would have been called and the crime scene tape would have been wrapped around the patient and the plinth. The suspected serial criminal then would have collected his or her belongings and performed the famous perp walk out of the clinic for all of the fellow clinicians to see. Yes, the media would have eventually covered this story and learned that this inept clinician, known publically now as “high toner”, would be linked to previous clinical crimes ranging from “excessive upper trap activation” to “absence of manual cues”. OK, maybe a bit melodramatic and a tad over-exaggerated, but I think you get the idea.

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“I was amazed at the smooth motion I could accomplish with the SaeboMAS”

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Michael Che

I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2013. I had been experiencing neurological symptoms for nine years, so it was not a big surprise when I got the diagnosis. I had a long period of time to adjust to the notion before it was an actual reality. I was afraid of having to use a wheelchair or living in a care facility. But my biggest fear was that I would lose my ability to paint, which was not only my career but also my passion.

I heard about the SaeboMAS from my occupational therapist. I was not recovering as we had hoped, so it seemed that I would have to adjust to my new disabilities instead of hoping for a full recovery.

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“The look of surprise and happiness on her face was worth more than a thousand words”

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Dr. Prashant Dinesh

As President of Everest Healthcare, I know from personal experience that Saebo products not only give patients the ability to perform tasks with their affected hand that they could not otherwise with other physiotherapy options, but also restore hope that they may be able to regain functionality.

One of my patients in his early thirties was delighted to perform grasp and release activities using the SaeboFlex for the first time since his stroke several months ago. For a young person seeking to regain employment and become financially independent again, functionality is essential. The SaeboFlex provides tremendous hope to patients of such possibilities.

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“Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you are DONE.” #mondaymotivation #inspirational #quotes #strokerecovery
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