How to Inhibit Muscle Deterioration i...

How to Inhibit Muscle Deterioration in a Bedridden Person

Since: Apr 10

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#1 Jun 12, 2010
It is very common that the muscles of a person who has to remain in bed for extended periods of time deteriorate due to the lack of use; however, it is not easy to see someone you love lose his or her ability to move arms or legs.

Luckily, you can help. Besides the help a pressure mattress offers to move the patient at regular intervals, there is a set of exercises called ROM, Range of Motion exercises, that can avert, and even reverse, this situation, unless it is a very serious case.

ROM exercises can be active or passive. The active style applies to patients who can do the exercises by themselves. The exercises here are done by the bedridden person but with someone’s assistance. The passive style works for patients who can’t move by themselves; thus, someone else has to do the exercises for them. In both cases, the exercises will put off muscle deterioration from happening.

Before starting any exercise routine with a bedridden person, make sure his or her doctor approves it; this is truly important, you can cause serious problems to the patient if his or her condition doesn’t allow for some kind of exercise.

Following is a guide on how to perform the ROM exercises, these specifically apply to the arms; nevertheless, can be used in any part of the body:

1. Shoulder
- Stretch out the scapula: Roll the shoulder blade forward by placing one hand over the front of the shoulder and the other hand on the shoulder blade.

- Flexion and extension: Put the arm straight down to the side. Reach straight up to the head and back. Lift the arm overhead and put it back down to the side.

- Horizontal adduction: Put the arm straight out to the side, reach across and touch the other shoulder.

- Abduction: Put the arm straight out to the side, palm up, circle out and up overhead to touch the opposite ear.

- Internal and external rotation: Put the arm at the side, bend the elbow, move hand to the stomach and then back to the bed. The elbow must remain bent and touching the person’s side.

2. Elbow and forearm
- Elbow flexion and extension: Put the arm at the side, palm up, and touch the hand to the shoulder and return to the starting position.

- Forearm pronation and supination: Put the arm at the side, bend the elbow, turn palm towards the face and then towards the feet. Make sure you turn the forearm and not the wrist.

3. Wrist
- Wrist radial and ulnar deviation: Keep the arm to the side, bend the elbow and move the wrist up and down as if shaking hands.

- Wrist flexion and extension: Keep the arm to the side, bend the elbow and move the wrist as if waving goodbye, moving the hand from the back of the forearm to the front of the forearm.

- Wrist circumduction: With the arm to the side, bend the elbow and move the wrist in a circular motion.

4. Hand and fingers
- Hand metacarpal gliding: Hold each edge of the hand with the back of the hand facing you. Place your thumbs on adjacent metacarpal bones and move up and down in relation to each other.

- Fingers flexion and extension: Open and close the hand.

- Fingers abduction and adduction: Fan the fingers apart and together.

- Fingers opposition: Touch the thumb to the base of each finger.

- Fingers metacarpalphalangeal flexion: Steady the ends of the fingers. At the knuckles, bend at first knuckle, the one closest to the hand, keeping the fingers straight.

- Fingers proximal interphalangeal flexion: Steady the first knuckle joint and bend the second joint maintaining the rest of the fingers straight.

- Fingers distal interphalangeal flexion: Steady the first and second joint and bend the third knuckle joint.

Rachel Clarkson
Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of “The Volkner Turning Mattress”:

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