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  • Author: Julita Głowacka-Popkiewicz x
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Marta Sidaway, Julita Głowacka-Popkiewicz, Maciej Krawczyk and Tomasz Waraksa


Stroke is still the most common cause of disability in Poland and in western countries. As many as 80% of patients report reduced upper limb function in the acute phase after stroke. It is estimated that only 5% to 20% of patients experience full functional recovery of an upper limb. In clinical practice, paretic upper limb stimulation after stroke is usually treated as of secondary importance. However, it constantly poses a challenge to physical therapists. The existing procedures do not provide detailed guidelines regarding upper limb rehabilitation model particularly in the first four weeks after stroke. It is hard to predict biological limitations and the effectiveness of upper limb rehabilitation. The aim of this work is to make an attempt at reviewing the knowledge of the current state of early upper limb physiotherapy, its intensity and strategy type as well as neurobiological foundations of the improvement process. Ample scientific evidence confirms that early post-stroke rehabilitation is crucial. There are relatively few foreign (and virtually no Polish) reports related to early upper limb rehabilitation that would take into account the type of exercises and their therapeutic dose. There are still no solid foundations for determining optimal intensity and type of upper limb rehabilitation (including physical and occupational therapy). There is a scarcity of extensive and uniform (in terms of research groups and tools) multicentre investigations aimed at defining an optimal model of upper limb rehabilitation at an early stage after stroke. Thus, a number of questions still remain unanswered.