Rehabilitation for Strokes
Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death with 800,000 people every year experiencing a new or recurring stroke. A stroke is when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Our brain controls our movements, stores memories, is our source of thoughts, emotions, and language. Our brain also controls our breathing and digestion. A stroke is a serious medical condition. The acronym F.A.S.T. can be used to detect stroke symptoms including Face (may note facial drooping), Arm (may note arm tingling or paralysis), Speech (may note slurred or altered speech), Time (get help immediately).
Starting and consistently participating in therapy after a stroke even as early as 24 hours and up to 6 months to a year or longer is very important. A stroke often causes paralysis of one side of the body, which means you may lose function in one arm and/or one leg. You can also see impairments in balance, coordination and motor planning affecting mobility and limiting function.
The goal of Physical and Occupational Therapy is to work with stroke survivors to normalize muscle tone and function and when function does return to help patients relearn everyday skills and retrain healthy brain cells to control the affected body parts. There are skilled techniques that therapists are trained in including Neuro development technique and Brunnstrom approach, which have all been proven to help regain function to a certain degree.
A therapist is specially trained to treat the disabilities related to motor and sensory impairments. The therapist will assess strength, endurance, range of motion of joints, gait abnormalities, and sensory deficits to design an individualized rehab program to help regain control over motor function. This will help the stroke survivor to regain use of affected limbs and teach compensatory strategies to reduce deficits. A skilled therapist can also establish an individualized exercise program to help retain newly learned function over the course of therapy.
In conclusion, time is important along with consistent participation in therapy for months to years following a stroke. All stroke patients can regain some level of function with hard work and the help of a skilled therapist.