Aquatic Physical Therapy, Aquatic Rehabilitation for Stroke

Water is truly a magical substance composing 70% of our bodies. It can give and restore life. It has many therapeutic benefits, which include improving the use of bodily functions lost during a stroke. Water therapy is this sense is commonly called hydrotherapy, the use of water to treat pain and disease dates back as far as ancient Egypt.

A large array of conditions from stress, arthritis, hemorrhoids, burns, muscle and joint problems and stroke patients have benefited from water therapy. Hydrotherapy as part of stroke rehabilitation can aid joint health and movement, help strengthen weakened muscles, stretch tight muscles and improve overall quality of life.

Aquatic Physical Therapy

Aquatic Physical Therapy

Because of its effectiveness, many hospitals and rehabilitation centers have special machines used for physical therapy that use water therapy. There are spas nowadays, that offer different forms of hydrotherapy to patients. Certain massage techniques can be used through the pressure of water from specially designed showers, these can be focused on certain areas of the body and used with different temperated water. The use of aromatherapy pools like the ones in ancient times with lavender oil, are also used at some spas.

The use of hydrotherapy can also be an activity post stroke, that you can do if you enjoy swimming or simply being in the water. While having some fun you can relieve yourself from any pain and aid your stroke recovery. It can also be used as an opportunity to bond with family during this trying time.

A more structured approach to rehab can be found in the form of aquatic exercises for stroke patients. Aquatic exercise is a form of water therapy used for stroke patients and injured athletes.

The waters buoyancy can aid the stroke patient and may exercises and movement alot easier. Activities such as walking, balancing, coordinating and strengthening that may be too difficult on land, can be done in the safety of the water with the added assistance of the buoyancy.

Hydrotherapy and water physical exercises is a great supplement to your stroke rehabilitation program. It can be an enjoyable way to recover from stroke, regain confidence, improve social skills and strengthen family ties.

What is your experience or thoughts about hydrotherapy? Share your comments and responses 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.

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.

Best Therapy for Stroke Rehabilitation

After a stroke a person may have impairments in movement, sensory or cognitive capabilities. Impairments related to movement may consist of posturing or spasticity of the limbs. Sensory deficits can result in absent or decreased sensation in areas of the body or altered sensation like pins and needles or numbness covering an area of the body. Cognitive difficulties can related to memory, language or spatial awareness problems. The goal of stroke rehabilitation to help work on these deficits and help improve them.

Types of Therapy

Types of Therapy

Of course specificity is important in your recovery. Understanding your deficits and tailoring your rehabilitation to your needs can greatly speed your recovery. Different therapies and protocols should be used for a communication disorder versus a spatial awareness problem. As you can imagine different therapies also for movement rehabilitation is used as compared to rehabilitating sensory deficits.

The road of stroke recovery can be a daunting one. A strong support team maybe needed. Addressing the mental aspects related to recovery can be a vital component, as the person learns the simple things in life all over again. Support groups or a counselor can really be helpful to deal with this difficult aspect of recovery. Also educating oneself on the recovery process and having a better understanding of exactly what is happening can be reassuring.

Stroke rehab should begin as soon as practically possible after the stroke. Once again tailoring treatment to the capability levels of the person is a key aspect. Working on cognitive skills while motor impairment is severe may be an approach. Or more passive sensory therapy may be appropriate. Research has now shown that it is never too late to start your rehabiliation. You can always improve from where you currently are. Other than physical therapy, some nutritional supplements can also help stroke patients recover.