After a Stroke

This piece will discuss what to do after a stroke presuming the survivor has been released from the hospital. As a preventative measure we need to make certain that the patent’s status has stabilized. Even though released from hospital the staff may still issue some directing instructions on what can and can’t be done – please stick to their recommendations.

Assuming that everything is well in that regards, the next phase is stroke exercises or after a stroke rehabilitation. Stroke rehabilitation for survivors can rely on many factors. The problems being experienced and how intense the impairments are will likely be the primary determinants of the sort of rehab that will be undertaken. Of course financial wealth will also play a function in the treatment that is pursued.

After a stroke rehabilitation may consist of cognitive therapy, speech therapy, gait therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. A full scope of therapies are obtainable to address the particular needs of the patient. The family unit of the patient may select to register them in a specialist center that can be live in or done direct with daily visits, where all the assorted practitioners are under the one roof. This selection can help a lot of travel hassles and save time.

Some other patients may just want a smaller group of practitioners so their rehab after a stroke may just consist of going to one type of therapist to work on one facet of their recovery. For example they may be seeing a therapist for the movement issues and spasticity in their limbs.

Some patients may wish to conduct their own rehabilitation at home. Under the guide of a practitioner, a book or instructional manual the stroke survivor and his family or carer can learn about stroke rehabilitation. They can learn the basics of neurology and the working of the brain. How to understand what parts of the brain were affected by the stroke and how to test for  deficits. Based on this info a individualized after a stroke exercise program can be developed. In it’s entireness it may consist of motor or movement rehab, cognitive or thinking rehab,  and gait work and sensory therapy. Working on decreasing the spasticity and increasing the movement of limbs is one the main focuses of stroke survivors and should be addressed in your rehab program.

Easy Exercises for Stroke to help with Depression

You don’t need to sweat it out to receive the healing benefits of physical exercise. Research has shown that even a low intense exercise program can decrease symptoms of depression and boost physical therapy results in post stroke patients.

It appears the power of physical activity to raise the spirits of recovering stroke patients is stronger than anyone ever suspected says researchers at the Heart and Stroke Foundation at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Easy Exercises for Stroke to help with Depression

Easy Exercises for Stroke to help with Depression

It is common that stroke survivors feel depression in the time after a stroke and this can interfere with the recovery process. Depression can lead to lack of motivation, increased fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Intense physical activity has a good positive effect on a majority of stroke patients. However, for some stroke patients the practicality of intense physical activity is not realistic. They are unable to reach the aerobic levels high enough to help alleviate the depressive symptoms.

This new study shows that these patients may still benefit and fight their depression with physical activity. The study followed approximately 100 recovering stroke patients, just over half the patients were enrolled in an additional, experimental program for upper limb recovery called Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP). The other half carried on with regular activities and treatment. The GRASP group spent an extra 35 minutes four times a week doing non-intense upper body arm exercises as part of rehab, these included pouring a glass of water, buttoning up a shirt or playing games of accuracy and speed.

The GRASP group improved stroke-affected arm and hand function by 33 per cent as well as the amount of time that the patient used their arm and hands. The also reported less depressive symptoms across the board on the Epidemiology Depression Rating Scale. The effects lasted for up to five months.

So it may be as easy as gardening, enjoying the grandchildren or going for a walk in the beautiful outdoors, there are many activities that can raise mood, alleviate depression and help your stroke recovery.

If you have been dealing with post stroke depression, please share any helpful tips in the comments below, that may help others.

Gait Therapy effective in Stroke treatment

Gait therapy or therapy that focuses on regaining walking skills will be done by some stroke survivors. It is becoming more and more popular among physical therapists to use a treadmill for this type of rehabilition. Recent research focused on this form of gait therapy with the goal of increasing walking speed.

Gait Therapy

Gait Therapy

The theory is the basic sport physiology idea of progressive overload, where the body is stressed and asked to adapt as a response. In this case the stress is in the form of progressive treadmill training in combination with conventional physical therapy training and added neuromuscular components. Traditional and more conventional methods of rehabilition have proven ineffective in restoring normal gait to many post stroke patients.

Recent research set out to test and refine the protocol for treadmill training for stroke gait rehab. The goal of the study was to aquire clinical data that this type of treadmill training would aid the walking ability of stroke patients.

One of the main goals of the study was to conclude whether speed training on the treadmill will restore what is called “volitional gait” to stroke survivors. The research showed distinct differences in the walking of stroke versus non stroke people. This difference was termed a walking deficiency.

At the conclusion of the study, there were some specific gains for the stroke subjects which inlcuded:
*Adding strength – better strength helps gait
*Increased co-ordination – through repetition the mind body connection was retrained
* Gait improvement – a more normalised stride length
* Kinematics – the science of motion
* Endurance – a healthier cardiovascular system
* Quality of life – more confident and secure with overall walking.

The study offers a unique new way for stroke victims to improve their level of mobility and offers far reaching implications in the treatments that can improve the everyday quality of life.

What techniques have you found helpful in your gait therapy? Leave your comments below.

Ongoing Stroke Rehabilitation Programs to do at home everyday

A very important factor in long-term recovery is continuing stroke rehabilitation at home. Studies have shown that once stroke patients return home there is a decline in their rehabilitation and less attention is given to it.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System conducted research in 2005 and concluded only 31% of stroke survivors receive outpatient rehabilitation. This resulted in lower rates of functional status and decreased quality of life. In the longer term studies also show that less than 10% of people after a stroke receive occupational or physical therapy. However, lower levels of disability and ongoing problems were reported by those patients who did receive therapy.

Ongoing Stroke Rehabilitation Programs

Ongoing Stroke Rehabilitation Programs

The benefits for patients who received continuous, long-term rehab were numerous. Patients were able to learn new strategies to compensate for abilities lost, created new neural connections to bypass damaged brain cells, decreased medical complications, reduced the risk of another stroke, and made the most of their new functional abilities.

Financial factors are one obstacle in the way of therapy, therapists and professional caregivers. On going compliance of patients can also interfere with follow-up treatment, especially for those who may feel better or have become independent already. But the biggest challenge comes in the transfer of information and technology to those who will actually use it.

In order to maximise recovery continiuing stroke rehabilitation at home is very important. It should be made a priority because of how crucial it is for the stroke survivor’s continuous recovery.