Has your parent recently suffered from a stroke? It is no secret that any neurological disorder can be limiting and debilitating, forcing one to find new ways to manage daily life. While this can be frustrating, physical therapy can help improve function, so your parent can get back to living life on his or her own terms.
For more information on how we can help your parent reclaim life after a stroke, contact Choice Therapy today to speak to one of our physical, occupational, and speech therapist.
What happens during a stroke?
A stroke is referred to as a Cerebrovascular Accident and is caused by the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. This occurs when the blood flow to a particular portion of the brain is restricted from a clot or bleed. There are two different types of strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel is blocked, typically due to “arteriosclerosis,” which is a buildup of fatty deposits. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel leaks or ruptures, due to a weakened area of the brain from abnormally-formed blood vessels.
The severity of symptoms and recovery period are dependent on where the stroke occurred in the brain, how extensive the damage was, and the duration of the stroke. A stroke can affect cognitive function, speech, the ability to swallow, walking, balance, strength, and function. Some common symptoms associated with strokes include:
- Slurred speech.
- Facial droops.
- Weakness or loss of function on one side of the body.
- Blurred or double vision.
- Overactive reflexes.
- Reduced sensation to touch, or “pins and needles.”
- Mental confusion, such as memory loss or difficulty remembering words.
If your parent is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention. Physical therapy can help.
How does physical therapy help with post-stroke rehabilitation?
Physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery for a person who has suffered from a stroke. A thorough evaluation is done in various stages of the rehabilitation process to determine progression in strength, transfers, walking, balance, range of motion, and safety. Our licensed physical therapists approach the care of each person as an individual, adapting the best rehabilitative process to each case.
Occupational therapists work very closely in the process to improve upper extremity and hand function. Occupational therapists can also assist with speech therapy, by working with muscle deficits of speech, swallowing, and facial expressions. For patients experiencing decreased cognitive function following their stroke, cognitive challenges can help increase the functioning of the brain to problem-solve many of life’s daily activities.
The long-term goal of any stroke rehabilitation plan is to improve physical function. This will allow your parent to be as independent as possible. Sometimes, a patient may have to relearn basic skills, such as walking, dressing, writing, speaking, or eating. At (practice name), our advanced methods and modalities are equipped to help your parent relearn, recover, and reclaim their life.
According to Move Forward PT, some of the most effective physical therapy practices for helping patients relearn how to walk, use their upper body, and perform daily activities include:
- Constraint-induced movement therapy. It is common for one half of the body to be affected by stroke. With this treatment method, a constraint will be put on the arm on the strong half of the body, in order to force the patient to use the weakened arm to perform daily tasks. This will help rebuild strength and function.
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES). FES is performed on muscles that are extremely weak, in order to help them move. It can benefit stiff or painful areas of the body.
- Motor imagery and mental practice. This helps the patient regain function in their arms, hands, feet, and legs by “rehearsing” the action out loud before performing it. This helps rebuild the responses between the brain and the body.
- Positioning. Positioning is used to help with transfers, such as sitting to standing or sitting to lying down. It works to reduce muscle pain, spasms, slowness, and stiffness, by helping the patient relearn proper positioning of their body.
- Partial body weight support (BWS). This is done to partially support the patient’s body as they walk, usually on a treadmill. It helps the patient relearn proper walking functions, as the amount of support will be gradually decreased with the improvement of posture, strength, balance, and coordination.
- Biofeedback. Biofeedback helps patients become more aware of how their muscles work and how to control them. It is done by attaching electrodes to the skin and displaying muscle activity on a monitor. By understanding the readings, the patient can better understand how their muscles are working.
If your parent has recently suffered from a stroke, don’t hesitate to seek the proper rehabilitation. Get your parent started on the path to reclaiming your life by scheduling an appointment with Choice Therapy today!