Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Stroke is identified to be the top reason for disability in adults in the United States. It causes dysfunction on the physical, emotional, and cognitive fronts. Mostly, it affects the physical movement and mobility, and thus requires dependence on others to do even the basic life activities.
The good thing is, recovery can still be achieved. Depending on the level of damage that the stroke has done, physical, occupational, and speech therapy are usually recommended. Receiving therapy during the early stages after a stroke will increase the chances of a substantial recovery. But regardless at which point the patient is post-stroke, a consistent physical therapy program will help towards rehabilitation.
Stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain is blocked, caused by a blood clot or a weak artery. Strokes are considered a medical emergency, which immediate medical attention is warranted as any delay may cause long-term effects. Almost half of stroke cases result in serious impairments and being dependent on others for basic care.
Stroke can cause paralysis, usually a part or the full side of the body. The paralysis happens on the face, the arm, and the leg. The muscles may get weakened, thus resulting in losing grip of objects, being unable to walk or stand, have difficulties in swallowing, and experience bladder incontinence. Patients may also experience balance issues and lose coordination in movements.
Some stroke patients develop seizures or epilepsy, or muscle movements that cannot be controlled, called spasticity. Patients may also have eye problems, such as vision impairment, blind spots, and tunnel vision.
These physical issues that a stroke survivor suffers from are traumatic and unsettling. Thus, the proper medical treatment should be provided promptly after a stroke event. Subsequently, physical therapy can be started within a day or two from the stroke. A physical therapist can help the patient to make normal movements on their own, such as changing positions, moving their arms or legs, standing up from bed, and walking around without assistance.
Coming home from the hospital, the physical therapist will come up with the physical therapy treatment plan that will be more intensive in nature. The physical therapy exercises that will be designed will depend on the patient’s case, which aims to bring back the normal functions and abilities prior to the stroke. The rehabilitation regime will consider the patient’s strength, endurance, balance, range of motion, and motor control.
The physical therapy program also aims to regain a part or full control in case of a serious impairment, thus reducing the incapacity or disability. It will also lead to doing more complex activities, such as ascending and descending the stairs, and regain control of the muscles and rebuilding the body’s flexibility and strength.
Physical therapy for stroke rehabilitation greatly benefits a stroke survivor. Getting into a rehab program will help in regaining physical strength and agility, thus enabling going back to normalcy. Physical therapy also prevents wasting of muscles – called muscle atrophy – as the exercises will help stimulate the muscles and rebuild the coordination of the brain and the body.
As physical therapy focuses on restoring normal functions and reducing disability, it helps the patient to return to their normal state and lessens their dependency on others on doing their tasks. They have improved balance, are stronger, and more mobile. Thus, it results in a better quality of life post-stroke.
As the physical exercises produce “happy hormones”, it helps in improving a stroke survivor’s mood, thus preventing depression. It helps patients to feel better about themselves and know that they have achieved significant improvements since their stroke.
Arise Physical Therapy offers physical therapy programs for stroke survivors to help them in their journey towards full rehabilitation and recovery. You can book an appointment with their highly qualified physical therapists today.