A stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This may be as a result of a blood clot that blocks the blood vessels supplying the brain (ischaemic stroke), or it may be a haemorrhagic stroke in which a blood vessel bursts in or around the brain. In either event, the brain is deprived of much-needed oxygen and succumbs to a stroke. Symptoms of a stroke are weakness on one side of the body, loss of motor function, slurred speech, severe headache, blurring or loss of vision and impaired coordination.
Stroke rehabilitation can be complex depending on the extent of the injury, and the results can sometimes be unpredictable. Physical therapy is recommended following a stroke and physical therapists will often work in a team with other health professionals, including occupational therapists and speech therapists. Following a stroke, a person may present with flaccidity (floppiness or low tone in the muscles) or spasticity (tightness or high tone in the muscles). As physical therapists, we use various techniques to help rehabilitate patients after stroke.
The goals of physical therapy will be to:
- Restore function to affected limbs
- Improve transfers and gait
- Provide and fit patients with mobility devices, if necessary
- Help the patient and re-train them in performing activities of daily living including dressing and self-feeding.
- Increase range-of-motion of the affected joints
- Splinting to keep the hand and foot in a functional position if necessary and prevent contractures and deformities from occurring.
Some techniques employed by physical therapists include:
- Passive mobilization to reduce swelling and improve range of movement
- Stretching exercises to improve flexibility
- Massage to reduce swelling, relax tight muscles, relieve pain and increase blood flow
- Electrical stimulation to help stimulate nerve response which may help restore movement to the affected limbs
- Strengthening exercises to restore muscle strength to weakened muscles
Stroke rehabilitation does not always result in patients regaining complete recovery.However, in most cases, it helps the person become as functional as possible and teaches new ways of living while coping with the effects of the stroke. If you have any concerns, please get in touch with us.
We do not warrant or represent that the information in this site is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. We recommend that you seek individual advice before acting on any information in this site. We have made every effort to ensure that the information on our website is correct at the time of publication but recommend that you exercise your own skill and care with respect to its use. If you wish to purchase our services, please do not rely solely on the information in this website.