There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the medical phenomenon known as a stroke. The weakness of the arms, the slurring of speech, and facial numbness –all of these are symptoms that one may experience while having a stroke. But why exactly is it considered a medical emergency, and what can you expect after it occurs?
Characterized as a “brain attack”, a stroke is experienced by approximately 800,000 Americans every year, according to the Natural Stroke Association. In fact, it is number 5 on the list of the leading causes of death in the United States.
What Happens During a Stroke?
A stroke happens when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off, leading to cell death because of oxygen deprivation. This can either be caused by a clogged artery carrying blood to the brain (known as an ischemic stroke) , or due to hemorrhage caused by a fall or blow to the head. The death of the brain cells impacts the abilities and senses controlled by that particular area of the brain, such as motor control, memory, speech, sight, coordination, and sensation.
The symptoms of a stroke depend upon which area of the brain it’s damaged. A minor stroke may only cause temporary weakness of the arms or leg. A major stroke, on the other hand, can leave more lasting damage, such as paralysis, the inability to speak, or hemiparesis.
How Can Physical Therapy Help With Post-Stroke Recovery?
While stroke treatment consists of a joint effort between different medical disciplines, clinical evidence suggests that early intervention for stroke rehabilitation holds the key to proper recovery. This means starting the rehabilitation process while the patient is still in the hospital.
Physical therapy for stroke recovery works around the principles of neuroplasticity. For those who’re not familiar with the term, neuroplasticity is the medical concept according to which our brain is constantly evolving instead of being hardwired. It states that if an area of the brain is damaged, the cells surrounding that area will adapt themselves and change their function to take on the jobs of the damaged cells. The process is most active and effective in the initial stages of recovery.
Bearing the principles of neuroplasticity in mind, the focus with stroke rehabilitation is always on restoring function. Generally, the most important goal of post-stroke physical therapy is helping the patient to recover their ability to walk. While this is one of the prominent areas of focus, post-stroke physical therapy is so much more than that!
Your physical therapist will work on coordination, balance, transfers, bed mobility, pulling, pushing, lifting, reaching, climbing and a variety of other activities to help you achieve your recovery goals.
ProMove PT Pain Specialists is a private physical therapy center in Bethesda that offers physical therapy for stroke recovery. The clinic focuses on reliable treatment methods for best therapy care, under the supervision of the expert, Dr. Michelle Finnegan. Contact (301) 388-8822 for more information or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.