Recovering From A Stroke As Quickly As Possible

After a stroke survivor has stabilized they will move to the next phase of recovering from a stroke. This will include the stroke rehab part of recovery. Stroke rehab will include physical or mental therapy focused on helping the stroke survivor with regaining any independence and working on any difficulties they may have had after the stroke. Strokes are estimated to affect up to 700,000 people annually with more than 70 percent of those being first time stroke survivors. Recovering from a stroke is not an easy process but it can be made a lot easier by getting proper stroke rehab advice and recommendations.

Stroke rehab in an outpatient clinic is often restricted by the limited time and resources that the facility has. This results in a short and quick period of rehab where patients are rushed through a quick course of rehab. The alternative is private therapy. This can be very costly in both finances and travel time. Unless you are fortunate to have financial abundance this may not even be an option. This leaves stroke survivors recovering from a stroke at home.

Often without proper guidance or knowledge of how to adequately perform stroke rehab the patient and family members may do very little. Or worse yet they may just accept the level of function the stroke survivor has and leave it at that. This is a pity. While there certainly are limitations to recovery from a stroke I feel unless survivors have performed an intense and properly constructed and documented program recovering from a stroke can always be improved. Knowing what to do and how to do it is vital for the best recovery efforts.

One principle that has revolutionized recovering from a stroke is the concept of neuroplasticity. This is a fancy way of saying the adult brain is capable of change. The adult brain has been shown to adapt to the demands we place upon it. This is a key concept for stroke rehabilitation where we have areas of the brain that have been damaged and are resulting in functional deficits for the survivor. It is possible through proper rehabilitation that the brain is able to rewire itself and figure out a way to start perform some of these lost functions again. Very exciting news for stroke survivors and their family.

The sad part is many people are still not aware of this concept. It should be one of the first things taught to stroke survivors and their families and it should form the basis of all people recovering from a stroke. However the reality of the matter is that it is not. Many patients are given inadequate advice about their recovery potential. New research has discovered exciting exercises that take advantage of sciences newest understandings of how the brain functions and recovers. The great news is that it does not have to cost a lot of money to have access to these advanced therapies. Recovering from a stroke has never been easier for survivors to do given the right tools and information.

Antidepressants To Help Stroke Recovery

This is something that has been mentioned a few times of late. Although the study sizes are small and speculation still surrounds the mechanism of exactly how the antidepressants help the physical recovery of stroke. However, the improvements in physical disability show promising results.

While this is all well and good, it also  must be noted that you must be doing adequate stroke rehabilitation in the first place. This assumes you are consistent with your rehab, performing the correct exercises and being specific with your application.

Recuperating stroke patients treated with a short duration of antidepressants showed greater improvement in physical rehabilitation than stroke sufferers receiving a placebo, new investigation finds.

What’s more, the physical healing of the group taking antidepressants continued 9 months after the medication had been discontinued.

Researchers with the University of Iowa gave 54 patients antidepressants while twenty nine patients were given a placebo.

Every group took the pills for 3 months. Using the Rankin Scale, which measures general physical plus motor disability, scientists found that the group getting antidepressants encountered significant decrease in physical impairment over a one-year period of time. Individuals getting the placebo improved initially however their improvement leveled off.

Stroke experts say that existing stroke treatments concentrate on reestablishing blood circulation towards the brain rigtht after an acute ischemic attack. Frequently, however, those individuals miss the brief, post-stroke time frame for effective treatment.

“Early administration of an adjunctive medication, an antidepressant, might have an effect on improving outcomes independent of the medication’s actions on mood,” said the study’s co-author Harold Adams, M.D. The study was published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Other studies also suggest that the antidepressant medication is doing something separate from treating depression that increases physical recovery from stroke.

Senior study author, Robert Robinson, M.D., notes that even though mechanisms underpinning the effect aren’t yet known there’s evidence that antidepressants could inhibit a type of inflammatory protein that’s released inside the brain during stroke, and may promote development of new cells in specific parts of the brain.

This article is presented purely for interest sake and is not medical advice or suggesting you start taking antidepressants. Please consult your primary physician before doing anything like that.

Minimize Stroke Recovery Time

Stroke Recovery Time

After a patient has stabilized the next most pressing question revolves around stroke recovery time. This of course is a very individual factor and is influenced by a few important things. In this article I want to talk about maximizing the factors you can change so the stroke recovery time can be as quick as possible and recovery potential can be improved. This involves being exposed to the latest concepts in stroke rehabilitation and using the best and most advanced exercises in stroke recovery.

Stroke Recovery Time[Is it possible to reduce stroke recovery time? YES! With the right stroke rehab]

Stroke Recovery Time is Dependent Upon

Stroke recovery time depends on the individual and the extent of the damage from the stroke. These factors we cannot change. But stroke recovery time is also influenced by the stroke rehabilitation process. This is the biggest area we can exert influence over and greatly improve stroke recovery time. Many stroke survivors are angry and frustrated by the post stroke rehabilitation they have access to. It is not any one’s fault, stroke rehabilitation is a very under serviced area of health care.

Like most advances in technology, health care is no different. As changes and innovations are made, to begin with only a select few people will be exposed to them. And accepting change is something that society in general takes time to accommodate and get used to. So, slowly if the new method proves it’s merit it will trickle to the masses and more people will be exposed to it. This slow and tedious dissemination process is also true of advances in stroke rehabilitation. Most post stroke patients and dare I say therapist and rehab facilities are far behind on the latest advancements in techniques, methods and critical thinking for stroke rehab.

Reducing Stroke Recovery Time

Unless you were lucky to participate in a clinical trial or be on the cutting edge of advancements in stroke recovery, you will unlikely have been exposed to the best exercises for stroke patients. And this is sad because it will most likely mean your stroke recovery time will be longer than it needs to be. The last ten years has seen an explosion in the knowledge about the brain and how it can recover. It has also seen the introduction of what I call ground breaking exercises and techniques that can speed stroke recovery time faster than ever thought possible. There are scientist out there that are pushing the boundaries further than we ever thought possible. Unfortunately most stroke survivor will never know about these methods, be exposed to them or even get to use them.

A stroke recovery time that is longer than what it needs to be saddens me. So I have made it a goal to try and educate the masses and those who are in need about the revolutionary methods of stroke recovery that are available. And regardless of financial status or location, if you are interested in these techniques to improve your stroke recovery time then you should be able to use them. If you have just done the standard approach to stroke recovery, then you are really doing yourself a disservice not to dig deeper and educate yourself of the latest advancements to speed stroke recovery time.

Decrease Your Stroke Recovery Timeline

What is The Stroke Recovery Timeline?

A number one concern immediately after a stroke for patients, their relatives and their caregivers is the stroke recovery timeline. Unfortunately predicting accurate recovery time is harder than it sounds. Many models of prediction attempt to estimate the probability of a patient achieving a specific benchmark, but of course this is influenced by the treatment regime or patient characteristics. The stroke recovery timeline can be influenced for the better if the patient is under taking proper stroke rehabilitation, unfortunately this is often not the case.

Stroke Recovery Timeline[Strive to Push The Boundaries of Your Stroke Recovery Timeline]

Stroke is the third largest cause of death and disability in America. The post stroke period which entails stroke rehabilitation is critical for influencing the stroke recovery timeline. Stroke rehabilitation plays a crucial role in helping survivors relearn the skills that were lost due to the stroke. Restoring any form of independence can really transform the lives of the individual and those around them. If a stroke survivor can regain independence of skills such as being mobile, getting out of bed in the morning, dressing themselves and feeding themselves, this can go a long way to improve their quality of life.

There are two kinds of strokes, they are called ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke can be caused by a blood clot or narrowing of the arteries and results in reducing or cutting off of the blood supply to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke results from the rupture of a blood vessel to the brain and this also results in a decrease blood supply to the brain.

Factors That Determine The Stroke Recovery Timeline

The stroke recovery timeline will of course be influenced by the severity of the stroke and the complications arising out of it, plus the type of stroke rehab used. There is unfortunately nothing we can do about the first factor of the severity of the stroke. What has happened has happened. But we can concentrate and change the other aspect which is the stroke rehab part. In fact this is the only part we have real influence over, so if you want to improve your stroke recovery timeline then this is where to put your energies into.

Decrease Your Stroke Recovery Timeline

Unfortunately this is the area where I see so many people failing or being disappointed with their stroke recovery results and hence their stroke recovery timeline. Most individuals never get exposed to the latest and best stroke rehabilitation methods. Often these are reserved for lucky individuals in clinical trials or who are fortunate to have the finances to access these treatments. Many therapists and rehab centers don’t even use these techniques. This is very sad. It also leads to a lot of anger and frustration on the part of stroke survivors and their families.

Sure you cannot escape the stroke recovery timeline with some magical miracle cure, but there are certainly more effective and efficient methods of performing your rehab that could shorten your stroke recovery timeline. I am talking about cutting edge stroke rehab exercises and an approach to stroke rehab that could push the boundaries of your potential.

Myths About Stroke Recovery

I am saddened to think that stroke recovery is sometimes trapped in an outdated and dogmatic approach to help people with their stroke recovery. But the sad truth is unless you are one of the very fortunate ones, either geographically to be located next to a cutting edge stroke rehabilitation facility or the monetary means to afford such treatment, you are stuck with the stock standard cookie cutter approach to stroke treatment. And there is a good chance that it is stuck in the past.

Myths surrounding stroke recovery may be perpetuated by a number of factors. It seems that once something has been printed in a newspaper or magazine it is taken as gospel. Many of the belief surrounding the brain have been around for a long time and despite new research dispelling the myth, it takes a long time for this to filter into mainstream belief systems. This can clearly be seen with all the out dated beliefs in the exercise and fitness world. This article will discuss three main myths surrounding stroke recovery. Firstly that the brain is set in stone and cannot change. Secondly that there is only a small window of opportunity for stroke recovery to happen. And the last myth is that there are not better and more effective ways to perform stroke rehabilitation.

One of the worst perpetuated myths is that the brain is set in stone and cannot change. The brain is capable of change all the time and at any age. While certainly when we are older the brain may not be as responsive as when we are younger, it is still capable of improving and changing. We can see real world examples of the brain changing whenever we learn or improve on a new skill. Things like learning a new language or sport are great examples. The brain controls everything we do and when we see improvements in our coordination like in sports there must be improvements in the brain to bring about those changes. The science of the brain has disproved this repeatedly, the brain can change and this is the basis of stroke rehabilitation.

It is still said that stroke recovery has a small window of opportunity in which recovery can happen. And while there may be some credit to the fact that it may be easier to recover when stroke rehabilitation is performed closer to the time of a stroke, it has been shown that the brain is always capable of change. The degree and ease of that change of course changes with age. It is much easier to learn things when we are younger but it does not mean it is impossible to change the brain or learn things when we are older. The same holds true for after a stroke, the brain is always capable of changing and improving and regaining function. And while there certainly may be limitation and restoring full functional capacity may not be possible, I always feel people can improve on their current state.

Lastly the belief that there are not better and more efficient ways to do stroke recovery is continually perpetuated. Most stroke patients are not up to date on how the brain works, how stroke recovery works and the best techniques for stroke rehabilitation. In fact most practitioners are not probably up to date on this information. And it is a real pity, because in the last decade there have been tremendous advances in brain research and subsequently in stroke recovery but it will take a while until these techniques and methods reach the masses. So unless you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you are probably being short changed in your stroke recovery efforts.

Unfortunately there are many myths surrounding stroke recovery. I hope this article has helped to educate and open your mind up to the truth about your stroke rehabilitation and how you should be approaching it. At times stroke rehab can be a very daunting task, filled with too much science, jargon and technique that may be difficult to understand. I have made it my goal to try and make available the best stroke recovery techniques to stroke survivors, their family members, care givers and health care practitioners.

Recovery After a Stroke

There are a few different stages of care after a stroke. Strokes do not discriminate and they can affect anyone, at any age, race or gender at any time. This article will mainly address the longer term care when the survivor has moved on to focus on stroke rehabilitation and exercises to help regain function.

There are two types of stroke and the mechanisms of both of these will be discussed. There are many different types of therapy and exercises used after a stroke for rehabilitation and recovery purposes. The role of cognitive therapy, psychological therapy and sensory or motor therapy will be explored.

There are two main types of strokes with a common underlying principle of interrupting blood to the brain. Because everyone is a unique individual with a unique genetic makeup and life history, the symptoms experienced post stroke will be slightly different for everyone. There can be a bleed or block causing the stroke. A block could be a blood clot or any material that impedes the flow of blood. The substance causing the block is sometimes referred to as an embolism. A bleed will occur when a blood vessel bursts this is typically called a hemorrhage.

Cognitive therapy refers to any type of rehab that does not involve movement of the body or direct sensory stimulation. Cognition can be regarded as thought processes. Cognitive therapy may involve working on any language issues such as receptive (understanding) language or expressive (speaking) language problems. It can consist of practicing memory or concentration which may have been affected by the stroke.

A part of cognitive therapy can also be counselling or psychological work for the survivor after a stroke. For some people dealing with life post stroke can be very difficult and can take some getting used to. There may be frustration, anger and negativity to deal with. At times family members can help but also a trained professional who commonly deals with stroke survivors is a good idea. Clearing any negativity or obstacles in the mind can make sure that the road to recovery is easier.

Physical therapy or exercises make up the last component of recovery. Primarily the concern here is to work on regaining or improving movement of the body or improving sensory processing of the body such as hearing or touch. Even just small improvements in movement can make a tremendous difference for the independence of the stroke survivor. It can help with everyday tasks such as feeding, getting dressed and hygiene. Although minor being able to complete these activities without assistance can greatly enhance the quality of life for a stroke survivor.

Stroke rehabilitation makes up an important part of after a stroke care. It aims to help the survivor regain or relearn skills that may have been affected due to the stroke. It is a really vital area of the recovery process which can help a survivor regain their independence and feelings of well being despite the event that has happened.

What Are The Best Stroke Exercises?

A vital aspect of what stroke exercises to perform is determined by what part of the brain has been damaged by the stroke event. A stroke occurs when blood to the area is compromised and this results in decreased oxygen. It can also be called a CVA or cerebrovascular accident. The problems experienced post stroke are a result of the extent of the injury which relates to how much of the brain area was affected. Also relating to problems experienced is which side of the brain or part of the brain has been damaged.

Stroke exercises form an integral part of the recovery and rehabilitation process. The latest scientific research about the brain and recovery demonstrate a remarkable finding called ‘neuroplasticity’ with regards to the brain and the nervous system. Neuroplasticity is a combination of the words neurology which can refer to the brain and nervous system and the word plastic which refers to something soft and pliable. Basically science has found that the brain is a ‘plastic’ organ, which means it is not fixed or rigid but it is highly adaptable and able to change or mold. This concept is the process behind stroke recovery and people abilities to regain functions after a stroke. With regards to stroke exercises in very broad categories we can look at three main areas which are cognitive exercises, motor exercises and sensory exercises.

Best Stroke Exercises

One aspect of stroke exercises  should focus on cognition. Cognition can be defined as the processing of thought for example recalling a telephone number. For those that have suffered a CVA on the left side of the brain it is common to have some language related cognitive problems. This is usually referred to as an aphasia. Typically there can be difficulty with expressing speech or understanding speech despite nothing being wrong with speech production or hearing of the speech. The problem has to do with the brain’s processing of language which affects the understanding and expression of it. Cognitive exercises are therefore very important for post stroke recovery.

Probably one of the most common parts of rehabilitation for stroke involves motor rehabilitation. Motor is this regards refers to the movement of the body. Stroke survivors who have issues with movement might have a flaccid or limp limb that has little muscle tone or they may have spasticity in the limb which makes it rigid. Either way there can be difficulty with the movement of this limb and working on improving movement and coordination of any affected limbs is very important. Goals of regaining some independence such as walking, getting dressed, feeding oneself or getting out of bed are vitally important to help improve the quality of life for a stroke survivor.

Sensory disturbances may affect areas of the skin or the bodies ability to feel things. The area may feel numb or become unable to discriminate between hot and cold objects or sharp or dull objects. There may be just reduced feeling in the area where some feeling may be present but the level of sensitivity is very poor. The movement of limbs can be affected by these sensory problems because it can be difficult to move something you can not feel.

The need for specific stroke exercises to help a patient with their recovery and rehabilitation is very important. These exercises should target the symptoms that the stroke survivor is having and address the areas of the brain affected. A more tailored approach can help ensure the most recovery and speed up the process.

Stroke Exercises

After a stroke has been suffered, post stroke exercises form the foundation for a stroke rehabilitation program. There are some essential points to take into consideration when selecting which stroke exercises you will do or in creating a stroke rehabilitation program. One of the most crucial aspects when putting together a stroke rehabilitation program is the specificity of the exercises we choose to allow in it.

Research have shown that the brain works together like a well organized orchestra, it is indeed made up of many distinct functioning parts with tremendous intercommunication. Some scientists argue that specialization of certain parts of the brain is what enabled humans to develop such sophisticated higher level functioning. Just like an office arrangement that may grow from a one man doing it all to having many people perform a specific role within the organization in the shape of a receptionist, accountant, manager etc. Specialization enables a part to totally focus and devote all it’s resources to one job and to also hopefully to be very good at whatsoever that job may be.

So what does this all have to do with stroke exercises and rehabilitation? Well just as specialization enables the brain function efficiently, when we focus our rehab efforts to a greater extent specifically we can enhance, speed up and make our results more efficient.

At first it may seem a little intimidating, acquiring a  bit of neurology or having a little appreciation of the brain can greatly help in selecting the most beneficial stroke exercises. The brain consists of two hemispheres – a left and a right. Each hemisphere has a inclination to specialize in certain roles. The left hemisphere is our language hemisphere and it is usual that strokes here will produce a language related deficit often referred to as an aphasia. The right hemisphere is to a greater extent visual spatially orientated and damage here often results in what is called neglect syndrome. Neglect syndrome is often displayed by the person who is completely ignorant of a area of space or even a portion or half of his own body resulting in strange behavior such as finishing only one half a plate of food, dressing one side of the body or shaving only on one side of the face.

Immediately armed with this basic information we could be more specific in our practical application of after a stroke or post stroke exercises. Of course any type of physical exercise will be better than none, but if we have an appreciation of the areas affected by the stroke or the deficits the patient is displaying then we can tailor out treatment to better help and rehabilitate the brain.

Sleeping and sleep for Stroke recovery speed up

The success of a stroke patients rehabilitation plan is heavily dependent on sleep.

Sleep is when the body recovers and repairs. Just like the elite athlete respects their bodies need for sleep, so should the stroke survivor participating in vigorous rehabilitation. The brain requires adequate rest to help it recover. This may contradict the current methodology of most rehabilitation facilities where patients may be artificially stimulated through medication and exercises in accordance to the therapists schedule, despite their own tiredness. Learn to listen to your body. Treatment should begin when you are ready for it and stop when you are tired.

sleep for Stroke recovery

sleep for Stroke recovery

I often say to patients ‘we want to exercise the brain, not exhaust it’. Think about it like getting a sun tan. The correct amount of sun stimulates a change in the body for the desired result. Too much sun results in a burn, the bodies sign that it could not handle the stress you placed upon it.

APPLYING THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP TO STROKE PATIENTS

1. Sleep and Memory.
Research at Harvard Medical School tested whether sleep helps consolidate memories. The results of their studies showed that sleep actively helps the brain digest memories from recently learned facts or working memory (short term memory).

Participants in the study who did not sleep between learning and testing performed poorer on the recall of new words they had learned than those who had slept. Sleeping in between therapy can allow the stroke patient to absorb information performed during their rehabilitation.

2. Sleep strengthens the brain

Psychologist found some benefits during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which happens between the 6th and 8th hour of sleep often when dreaming starts. REM sleep produces sleep spindles – these are 1-2 second bursts of brain waves at high frequencies. These sleep spindles allow the brain to store new information into long-term memory.

The brain, during REM sleep, will transfer short-term memories from one area of the brain to another, to become long-term memories. Sleep spindles are transmitted as the memory part of the brain processes the new information and starts storing it in long-term memory. Also during this time, neurotransmitters, the chemicals your brain uses for functions such as remembering, problem solving and performance are replenished.

3. Decrease risk of another stroke with sleep

Research done at the University of Chicago concluded that patients with diabetes and high blood pressure who suffered a stroke may decrease their risk of another stroke by increasing the amount of sleep they get.

We have all felt the benefits of a good nights sleep. Take advantage of the powerful recovery powers of sleep during your stroke rehabilitation program to make the most of your recovery. How much sleep on average are you currently getting? Leave your comments below.

Importance of Stroke Rehabilitation for stroke recovery

Besides being the number 3 killer in the world, stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Mental and physical disability is common among stroke survivors. Stroke rehabilitation should not stop when you are discharged from the hospital. Successful rehabilitation depends on a variety of factors. The start time of the rehabilitation, the severity of the brain injury and the stroke survivors attitude are all important factors. The support and cooperation of family and friends and the skill of the rehabilitation team also play a large role.

Regaining independence and function is the main goal of rehabilitation with stroke survivors. A large focus is usually on improving physical abilities. Old everyday tasks and skills will have to be re-learnt or new modified skills will have to be learnt to adapt to the new functioning capabilities of the survivor. Because in most cases post stroke their will be a large decline in the amount of movement being done, the maintenance of the physical body is also very important. Stroke rehabilitation can start early while the survivor is still in the hospital. You want to prevent secondary problems such as stiff joints, second stroke and bedsores etc.

Importance of Stroke Rehabilitation

Importance of Stroke Rehabilitation

The support of the family during the stroke rehabilitation process is vitally important. Family support and participation is a huge factor in the success of recovery. A positive attitude and knowledge of what to expect can make a huge difference. Family members should educate themselves as much as possible to try and understand what the stroke survivor has been through and appreciate the psychological repercussions of having a stroke.

Stroke rehabilitation can be performed in may different places. Inpatient and outpatient facilities are usually found in larger hospitals. There are some skilled nursing facilities that offer stroke rehabilitation. Home-based rehabilitation programs are also an option for stroke survivors and are beneficial because they can save on therapy and transportation costs. They can also allow a more flexible rehab schedule.

The length of rehabilitation will of course depend on many factors. The severity of the stroke suffered, the pre-existing health of the patient and age of the patient all must be taken into consideration. Usually stroke survivors will have a period of contact with some in-house rehabilitation. This is usually followed up with therapy of some sort at an outside facility for several weeks or months. For some rehabilitation can be a long road ahead. Therefore, it is important that stroke rehabilitation is continued at home after they have finished their therapy at a rehabiliation center.

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