PHYSICAL THERAPY A MUST FOR STROKE VICTIMS
Recent research shows that our brains are amazingly resilient in relearning and recovering after a stroke. Physical Therapy will prove to be one of the most important therapies for stroke victims. It’s always a good idea to start physical therapy as soon as your doctor says it’s time to get those limbs moving again. Recovering after such a major life event may feel daunting but the sooner you start to work your muscles by strengthening and retraining coordination, the better the outcome will be, physically and mentally.
If you have experienced loss of movement in your arm(s) or leg(s) or on one side of your body, the main focus should be to regain as much strength and movement as possible to help you carry out everyday activities. Keeping in mind that your affected side of the body may feel very different and your muscles may become stiff or lax and will not react as they should. Your balance may also be compromised which will result in stability and posture problems increasing the risk of falling. You may easily develop a behavioral pattern of nonuse. Early muscle activation is critical to good recovery, you should be devoting as much time as possible to getting your limbs moving. When muscles don’t have the strength to function correctly it leaves joints wide open to injury.
After a stroke, our brains cannot, as yet, grow new cells to replace the ones that have been damaged. Though neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize undamaged cells to compensate or take over the functions of the damaged part of the brain. The repetitive use of impaired limbs encourages brain plasticity and helps reduce disabilities.
Your Physical Therapist is highly trained to help you slowly strengthen your muscles and hopefully, regain part or full function. This process can be guided by the rehabilitation you receive following your stroke, and your Physical Therapist will provide expert guidance on how to relearn movement, regain function and move again as independently as possible.
Physical therapists who specialize in treating disabilities related to sensory and motor impairments from a stroke are trained in all aspects of anatomy and physiology related to normal function, with an emphasis on the coordination and strength of movement. They assess the patient’s strength, range of motion, gait abnormalities, endurance, and sensory deficits to design specifically individualized rehabilitation programs aimed at regaining control over motor functions.
Physical therapists help survivors regain the use of stroke-impaired limbs, teach compensatory strategies to reduce the effect of remaining deficits, and establish ongoing exercise programs to help people retain their newly learned skills.
Some of the strategies and treatments used by physical therapists to encourage the use of impaired limbs include active and passive range-of-motion exercises, selective sensory stimulation such as tapping or stroking and temporary restraint of healthy limbs while practicing motor tasks. Physical therapy emphasizes practicing isolated movements, repeatedly changing from one kind of movement to another, and rehearsing complex movements that require a great deal of coordination and balance, such as walking up or down stairs or moving safely between obstacles. Physical therapists may emphasizes the effectiveness of engaging in goal-directed activities, such as playing games, to promote coordination. Physical Therapist’s will help to motivate you to be actively involved in your therapy sessions to help you relearn normal patterns of movement and give you every chance of making a good recovery.
A very informative article on this subject can be found at:
We hope the above information has been helpful and we are available to answer any further questions should you wish to contact us. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
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