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.
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.
Research has shown that most patients with a hemiplegia after a stroke suffer from a condition called shoulder subluxation. The incidence is higher in more severe cases of paralysis, however shoulder subluxation is one of the most common secondary musculoskeletal complaints post stroke. There are various ways to treat shoulder subluxation.
Also referred to as joint instability, a subluxation is medically defined as less than a dislocation. This can mean that the relationship of the joint surfaces has been challenged but not so much as a dislocation. With regards to the shoulder the ball of the upper arm bone has lost it’s normal relationship with the shoulder socket due to the pull of spastic muscles.
Treatment can include ice or heat packs, pain killers, support devices, and strapping or taping the shoulder to reduce pain plus various other forms of therapy discussed below.
1. Closed Reduction and Immobilization
This is a medical procedure where the head of the humerus (top of the arm bone) is restored to it’s normal position by applying traction to the arm. After this procedure the arm is immobilized for 4 weeks with supportive devices to prevent any movement. The types of devices used can be cuffs, slings, and braces. It is important not to overuse these supports as it can lead to excessive immobility and encourage spasticity.
This is also a medical procedure with a combined natural approach. A solution is injected into the affect joint and surrounding supportive tissue to stimulate a natural inflammatory and healing reaction in the body. The theory is inducing this reaction will help heal the subluxated shoulder.
Continuous treatment with electrical stimulation of the shoulder muscles can help reduce subluxation.
Specific tailored shoulder strengthening exercises can be used to help improve weak muscles and help relax tight ones. Shoulder stabilizing exercises that work on the scapular muscles and rotator cuff muscles are recommended. Proceed with caution and start slowly.
5. Proper positioning
This involves trying to maintain the correct posture during your everyday activities. This is easier said than done and will require conscious effort when first starting out.
What did you find helpful for your shoulder subluxation? Leave your comments below.
Strokes can cause impairment in ability ranging from mild to severe. The area of the brain affected by the stroke and the severity to which it was affected determines the type of impairment a person may experience. Now a days there is a wealth of information to help educate yourself on risk factors and prevention options when it comes to strokes as well as rehabilitation options available post stroke. Regular cardiovascular exercises for your heart and lungs, keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure within normal limits are keys to stroke prevention. Addressing other risk factors such as smoking or if you have circulation or heart problems can also play a large role in preventative stroke care. The goal of this website is to present information relating to strokes with a focus on the recovery and rehabilitation aspects.
Any type of activitity that stimulates or activites the brain can play a role in stroke recovery. Physical activities such as Tai Chi can help speed recovery time for some stroke victims. The slow controlled use of sequential movements can help with reactivating areas of the nervous system associated with motor (movement) skills. The added benefit of improving memory is achieved through the learning of the Tai Chi routines. A lot of the actions of Tai Chi are also great for improving balance, which is a vital skill to help with gait and mobility for stroke recovery. Research has also shown some added bonuses for the mind with improvements in concentration and calmness with regular practice.
It is important to understand that stroke recovery takes time and will require some hard work. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts for time and hardwork. However, this site aims to help you learn the ways to make your rehab more efficient and to maximise your results. Each day, each week and each month builds on the previous one, to help put you a little close to your goals of regaining independence. Keeping up to date and utilizing the latest advances in stroke rehabilitation and recovery can help you on your road to recovery.
For stroke survivors the role of rehabilitation can be very important part of recovery. The severity of the stroke will determine the length of rehabilitation. For some patients it may be a long process of months or even years to fully recover, while for others recovery can be shorter.
For a stroke survivor, regaining independence is one of the key concerns. The ability to be mobile on their feet without assistance is a major goal. The simple everyday tasks that previously were taken for granted, may now seem impossible. Therefore, one of the objectives of a rehabilitation program is to help restore their ability to relearn skills and restore confidence. Regaining independence and improving the quality of life can be gained through participating in a rehabilitation program.
Once medically stabilized post stroke, the patient should start their rehabilitation program immediately. Previously it was thought that a small window of maybe 1 year existed to recover from a stroke. Although it may certainly be easier to begin rehabilitation as soon as possible, research has shown that recovery can be possible at any time post stroke.
So what does a stroke rehab program involve? A typical stroke rehab program can include some or all of the following therapies:
1. Motor skills training. This can focus on helping a patient regain movement or coordination. It may also include strengthening weak muscles.
2. Gait therapy which will focus on helping the patient regain mobility on their feet. This may use walking aids.
3. Communication therapy sessions which may help with language expression or comprehension.
4. Physical therapy to help tight or sore muscles and to regain range of motion.
5. Psychology therapy to address an issues that may arise during the recovery process. Keeping a positive frame of mind is vital for rehabilitation.
As I have mentioned earlier, stroke rehab can begin while the patient is still in the hospital. Most hospitals have set protocols and teams in place for the patient and help him through the rehab program. A choice can be made to use the inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation units.
Inpatient rehabilitation will involve staying at the facility for several weeks for an intense in-house rehabilitation program. For outpatient care, the patient will use facilities located at a clinic or facility and spend several hours a day doing rehab and then return home each night. The road of stroke rehab should not stop after inpatient/outpatient rehab program. Continuing therapy at home can ensure a faster road to full recovery for the patient.