Ways to Recovery from Stroke
A stroke can take a toll on the muscles by breaking the vital connection between the brain and muscles. This may lead to loss of movement and mobility and sometimes may also lead to long term disability. The saving grace is that the loss of movement and mobility may not always be permanent.
Adopting various therapies and other modes of recoveries can help regain control over affected muscles. Following are some methods of recovery from a stroke that may help in regaining control over affected muscles and movement:
The inability to understand and communicate, also known as Aphasia, is the most common side-effect of stroke. One of the widely used methods of regaining control over this disability is through Speech Therapy. A speech-language pathologist or speech therapist can help stroke patients regain and improve their hampered ability to communicate.
Here are some speech therapies that can be suggested by an SLP or speech-language pathologist according to the severity of the condition:
- Personal Speech Therapy Sessions: These sessions are great for word retrievals and may include exercises such as loud reading, word-puzzle solving, writing lists such as grocery/shopping, and more. A therapist may also engage the patient in role-playing that encourages the patient in word interactions.
- Arranging Group Therapy Sessions: Such sessions are arranged in a group with people who are also suffering from the same condition. The aims of such sessions are to practice through conversations with fellow patients and relearn the lost skills.
- Opting for Modern App-based Exercises: Sometimes, speech therapists may also recommend mobile phone apps that are designed to help the patient practice at home or other places without the help of the therapist.
- Help with Swallowing: Apart from helping with language and speech, the therapist can also guide a patient about various feeding techniques, apt positioning, and food and drink recommendations to help improve oral motor functioning.
Stroke patients may sometimes experience certain cognitive changes and emotional difficulties. This happens due to the physical changes that occur in the brain tissue, which hampers with information processing, memory, executive functioning, and other such cognitive difficulties.
Here are some cognitive rehabilitation or cognitive remediation techniques that can be helpful:
- Engaging the patient in attention-enhancing exercises that need internal neurological functioning can be helpful. In such exercises, the patient’s auditory and visual skills are engaged.
- Using compensatory strategies that include making a daily planner or writing a dairy to help the patient in conducting the day to day activities more effectively is recommended.
- Interdependent functions such as memory, attention, and executive functioning can impact daily functioning. Therefore, exercises to increase working memory, attention capacity and short-term memory are suggested.
Relearning Sensory Skills
Loss of sensory attributes is a common drawback that is faced by patients post-stroke. These sensory issues usually crop up because of the damage that usually occurs on the right side of the brain. Sensory re-education exercises can help in relearning sensory skills through neuroplasticity, and repetitive practice.
Here are some exercises that are suggested for regaining sensory skills:
- Touch therapy: This begins by placing various objects on a table and blindfolding one’s eyes, who then tries to identify various objects by touching them.
- Texture therapy: This involves placing objects of varying textures in a bowl of sand. The patient feels these objects and tries to identify them.
- Temperature change: This begins by taking two bowls, one with cold and other with warm water. The patient’s hands are placed one by one in both the bowls to feel the temperature difference.
These are some of the exercises that can help with sensory skills. However, a doctor may advise one with other additional exercises based on the severity of the condition.
Sometimes patients may lose control in their limbs such as one arm or leg, causing partial paralysis. Physical therapy is a great way of toning and stimulating these affected muscles to prevent muscle stiffness and maintain proper blood circulation. Physical therapy sessions are usually custom made to suit different requirements of different patients.
The doctor may advise a patient any of the following therapies:
- Inpatient rehabilitation sessions: These sessions or programs are for patients with severe physical damage, and thus they will be required to stay in the hospital for on the clock medical care and rehabilitation.
- Outpatient physical therapy programs: These programs include the patients to remain in the hospital for a few hours. This includes rehabilitation services with less medical assistance and supervision.
- Physical therapy exercises or programs that are home-based: During these sessions, the therapist usually comes home to give sessions to strengthen and stimulate the muscles. This is usually advised after a patient is discharged from the hospital and in cases where acute care is required.