Physiotherapy, or physical therapy, is frequently used as a stroke treatment., or physical therapy, is frequently used as a stroke treatment.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke, sometimes called a cerebrovascular accident, occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. It can affect speech, movement, hearing and sometimes eyesight. Strokes are a leading cause of adult disability. They can be extremely debilitating, but prompt treatment and therapy can lower their impact.
There are two main types of stroke. A haemorrhagic stroke occurs when a brain aneurysm or weakened blood vessel bursts in the brain. Haemorrhagic stroke is less common but more likely to be fatal.
Ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke. It occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
Physiotherapy After Stroke
After a stroke occurs, physiotherapy is often begun as soon as the patient is stable. Strokes affect different areas of the brain, so the treatment plan is always individualized. It’s common for a physiotherapist to work as part of a stroke team with speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, doctors and other medical professionals.
Impact Of A Stroke
Weakness, stiffness or paralysis on one side of the body is common after stroke, which creates challenges in movement and difficulty in performing everyday tasks. Sometimes muscle spasms occur.
A stroke can cause parts of the body to move or feel differently. Balance can become a challenge, which creates a risk of falling injury.
Planning Stroke Treatment Rehabilitation
A long-term stroke rehabilitation plan is usually devised by the physiotherapist, to support the recovery of as much function as possible. These plans can include manipulation, massage, exercise, and skills training to help the recovery of strength and movement. The goal is to improve function, as well as reducing risk of further injury.
Typically, 45 minutes of physiotherapy daily is recommended for stroke patients who are undergoing rehabilitation in hospital.
A physiotherapist can offer motivation and support through a trying period, and also help family and caregivers understand how to support the patient recovering from a stroke.
Supportive Equipment For Stroke Treatment
Physiotherapists can advise and assist with equipment to help mobility, such as canes and walkers, with or without wheels.
Physiotherapy After Mini-Stroke
Some patients work with a physiotherapist after a transient ischaemic attack, or TIA. This is often called a mini-stroke, and may not require hospitalization. Their doctor can refer them, or they may self-refer to a physiotherapist.
Duration of Physiotherapy For Stroke Treatment
It’s impossible to predict the duration of physiotherapy that an individual stroke patient will require, as each case is different. Typically treatment will continue for anywhere from a few weeks to three months. At that point, any ongoing difficulties resulting from the stroke will be assessed. In some cases, stroke treatment rehabilitation may continue for a longer period.