Physical Therapy for Stroke Recovery
About Strokes and Stroke Recovery
When a person experiences a stroke (sometimes called a brain attack), the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or interrupted, such as when a blood vessel bursts and damages part of the brain. The implications can vary tremendously, but for many, physical therapy for stroke recovery is a must.
The brain manages many functions in the body, including language, memory storage, breathing, digestion, and control of movements. Oxygen is needed for the brain to function properly, and normal blood flow delivers oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
During a stroke, the blockage of blood flow can cause brain cells to die within minutes due to inadequate oxygen to the brain. The location of the blockage determines which part of the body will be affected by the stroke.
Acting FAST Is Critical in Stroke Treatment
Stroke treatments work best when a stroke is quickly diagnosed and treated within the first 3 hours of the stroke. Call 9-1-1- immediately if you or anyone you are with experience these signs of a stroke:
- Rapid onset of numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs
- Sudden onset of confusion, difficulty speaking, or difficulty understanding what others are saying
- Sudden difficulty in seeing with one or both eyes
- Sudden loss of balance or coordination, leading to difficulty walking
- Sudden onset of a severe headache
Immediately call 9-1-1 if you or someone you are with might be having a stroke. Rapid treatment is critical to prevent death and disability from a stroke. Early treatment can improve recovery, and early rehabilitation can improve the stroke patient’s functions, sometimes to a remarkable degree.
Stroke Rehabilitation from Your Team at Physical Therapy Now
After emergency care of the stroke and treatment for preventing another stroke, stroke rehabilitation (“rehab”) can include one or more types of therapy:
- Physical Therapy includes exercises to help patients relearn coordination and movement skills that may have been lost as a result of the stroke.
- Occupational Therapy helps to improve daily activities, including eating and drinking skills, bathing and dressing, reading, writing, and other daily and social activities.
- Speech therapy helps with speech problems after a stroke.
These therapies can take place in a rehabilitation unit in a hospital setting, in a rehabilitation hospital, at home, with outpatient services at physical therapy, or at a long-term care facility.
Lowering the Risks of a First Stroke and Recurrent Strokes
- Healthy diet: Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as foods that are low in saturated fats and trans fats.
- Limit salt: Restricting your salt intake can lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are risk factors for having a stroke, so following up with your healthcare provider is important for keeping high blood pressure in check.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight increases the risk of stroke, and a healthy diet and exercise are key to a maintaining a healthy weight. For those who are overweight or obese, a healthy diet and exercise can help to get you to a healthier weight. Discuss an exercise routine with your physical therapist.
- If you smoke, quit! Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of stroke, and quitting will lower your stroke risk.
- For tips on tobacco use and how to quit smoking, check out the CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use website.
Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy in Miami
If you or your loved one is in need of physical therapy or occupational therapy in Miami, the team at Physical Therapy Now is here for you. Our passion and expertise are in helping people of all ages achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Call us today at (800) 481-4582.