Stroke rehabilitation

Strokes are known to be extremely serious and can result in disability or even death. There are numerous methods to improve the functions of the body after someone has suffered a stroke and these will include rehabilitation, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. By undergoing stroke rehabilitation you are able to retrain the brain to think, understand, speak, move and feel.

We are aware that the brain controls the majority of functions in our body and allows us to think, understand, speak, move and feel. The brain will require a continuous supply of oxygen that is typically carried in the blood to the brain. A stroke will occur when blood is unable to reach the brain and therefore the brain does not receive the blood supply that it needs. This will eventually cause brain cells to die, and unfortunately the brain may no longer be able to function properly. As the brain actually controls a majority of functions of the body, you may find that a stroke will affect your entire body. Strokes are known to range from being mild to severe and can actually paralyze a person as well as causing many other problems.

Rehabilitation is known to drastically improve your chances of successfully recovering from a stroke. The first few days following a stroke are the most critical as your brain may swell, which may cause even more brain damage. In some very rare cases the swelling may lead to death. It is typically a week after a stroke that a patient’s condition will begin to stabilize, and in some cases they may even improve on their own. However, more often than not a stroke victim will be left with certain problems such as weakness and speech defects. Rehabilitation is needed to improve some of these defects and restore bodily functions.

The main aim of stroke rehabilitation will be to re-educate the patient and thus help them to improve. Rehabilitation may also mean teaching a patient exactly how to live their life as normally as possible with the defects that they have. There are three specific types of therapy that most used in stroke rehabilitation. Physical therapy is aimed at strengthening the muscles and improving a patient’s walking skills. Speech therapy will include re-educating a patient to speak, understand, read, write and even problem-solving. Occupational therapy is mainly aimed at teaching a patient certain methods to help them lead as normal a life as possible.

Rehabilitation will typically start a few days after the stroke and will require both the patient and their family to fully cooperate. Stroke rehabilitation will typically only be scheduled for a few days a week however a patient will usually be given therapeutic exercises that need to be carried out on a daily basis. This will usually be done in the comfort of their own home and with the help of a family member. Stroke rehabilitation has come a long way in the last 20 to 30 years, but it is important to realize that some stroke victims are unfortunate enough to never get back to the way they were prior to the stroke. It is, therefore, vitally important that you do not become discouraged and continue working on your skills.

As a stroke victim undergoes the different forms of therapy, there will be much for them to learn. A patient who is undergoing physical therapy will initially use parallel bars to assist them in walking. As their walking skills eventually develop and improve they may only need the aid of a walking stick or cane. It is hoped that a stroke victim will eventually be able to walk on their own without any help. Speech therapy is usually performed with the help of a number of exercises. The aim of these exercises is to reinforce certain activities into the brain while it is healing. Very much like physical therapy, these exercises will be repetitive in nature and should be practiced over and over again.

Occupational therapy is mainly aimed at teaching a patient how to do certain things that they will encounter in their everyday life. These will include how to dress, how to take a bath or shower, how to shave, how to cook, and how to eat. It is also an occupational therapist job to suggest certain ways in which a patient can change their home to make it safer and more accessible. They may also recommend specific silverware with oversized handles that are typically used by patients with weak hands.

No matter how disabling a stroke can be there are new rehabilitation techniques being formed every day, and this will allow the survivor of a stroke a far greater chance to stay independent. It is important to realize though, that the overall success of stroke rehabilitation will very much depend on the actual patient and their immediate family. Once the initial defects have improved, it is still vital that a patient continues with the various exercises as this will give them the best chance to get back to a normal life.

Last updated on Nov 23rd, 2010 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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