A Physical Therapist's Guide to Stroke Rehabilitation

A Physical Therapist's Guide to Stroke Rehabilitation

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when poor blood flow to the brain leads to damaged brain tissue, disrupting normal brain functions.

There are two types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke occurs when vascular impediments block the flow of blood to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a vascular hemorrhage causes bleeding into the brain or space between the brain’s membranes.

Various conditions can lead to blood flow obstruction or bleeding that results in a stroke. As a result, strokes will occur without warning. However, certain conditions are considered major risk factors for stroke, including obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Symptoms & Side Effects of Stroke

When disrupted blood flow causes brain cell death, it can result in impaired neurological functions that can be observed soon after a stroke occurs.

Typically, signs that signal the onset of a stroke include:

  • Dizziness;
  • Inability to produce or comprehend language;
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body;
  • Losing vision in one eye; and
  • Loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of a stroke can be temporary, allowing for virtually a full recovery of normal functions. A severe enough stroke can lead to permanent symptoms and even death if untreated. That is why it is important to get the stroke victim to a hospital immediately.

Stroke Rehabilitation Therapy

Physical therapy is a fundamental aspect of stroke rehabilitation, along with occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology. The goal of physical therapy in stroke rehabilitation focuses on restoring range of motion and strength. Depending on the severity of s stroke, patients may initially have to rely on assistive equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and ankle foot orthoses.

Treatment Techniques. Patients will perform strength and flexibility exercises, and relearn tasks related to activities of daily living, such as bed mobility, transferring, walking, and eating. Physical therapists can also work with patients to improve use and awareness of muscles on the side of the body weakened from the stroke. Constraint-induced movement therapy helps patients recover and improve motor learning.

Restoring Functions. Physical therapy also plays a major role in improving gait and balance issues. Doctors will help patients maintain energy levels, reduce the occurrence of falls, and ultimately promote the patient’s ability to independently perform ADLs.

To restore walking ability, physical therapists will guide patients through muscle strengthening exercises and repetitive motor patterns. These exercises focus on ambulatory movement to encourage striking the heel onto the floor when walking (gait training). The primary focus of gait training is restoring range of movement in the back, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Our Monmouth County Physical Therapists Are Ready to Help

Recovering from a stroke takes patience and dedication, guided by expert supervision from a trained physical therapist. At ProFysio Physical Therapy, our licensed physiotherapists in Aberdeen provide individualized attention and care, using state-of-the art techniques and technology to address stroke symptoms. Additionally, our facility has plenty of parking and offers convenient scheduling with appointment opportunities available within 48 hours of calling. By providing the best patient experience possible, we can help the patient maximize their recovery from a stroke.

Please contact us online, or call at (732) 333-6360 to schedule a free consultation with our physical therapists in Aberdeen.

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