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Physical therapy for stroke

What is a stroke?

Occuring in nearly 800,000 people each year, strokes result when the brain is deprived of oxygen, causing cell death. Stroke victims usually lose motor functions and cognitive abilities in the area of the brain that was affected.

There are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel to the brain becomes clotted, while hemorrhagic strokes occur when a brain aneurysm bursts. Hemorrhagic strokes are the less common but more deadly of the two, accounting for only 15 percent of all strokes but 40 percents of stroke deaths.

Over two-thirds of stroke survivors will have a disability as a result, though some disabilities are more severe than others. In the most severe cases, patients may become permanently paralyzed or lose the ability to speak. Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

Source: Stroke.org

Stroke symptoms

The aftereffects of a stroke can linger long after a stroke is over, and they tend to resemble the stroke’s initial symptoms. The warning signs that a patient is having a stroke include trouble speaking or understanding speech, paralysis, numbness or weakness in the face or extremities, vision problems, headache, and difficulty walking.

The immediate and long-lasting effects of a stroke tend to affect the same cognitive functions and muscle regions. For example, if speech is slurred or vision is blurry during the stroke, these symptoms may endure after the initial stroke is over. However, some long-lasting effects of stroke can develop months or years after the incident.

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Weakness
  • Trouble balancing
  • Vision changes
  • Speech problems
  • Cognitive defects
  • Muscle atrophy

Source: Very Well Health

What causes a stroke?

Loss of blood flow to the brain is the direct cause of a stroke, but there are a number of health factors and pre-existing conditions that place patients at greater risk of having a stroke. For example, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes can all contribute to a greater risk of the condition.

In addition, certain medications such as blood-thinning drugs can increase a patient’s likelihood of experiencing a stroke. It’s also suspected that race and genetics can play a role in stroke risk; strokes appear to run in families, and African-Americans and non-white Hispanic Americans experience strokes more often than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.

Age can also contribute to stroke risk. Although anyone can experience a stroke, risk generally doubles with every decade of life. Women are less likely to experience strokes than men, but because they tend to experience strokes at a later age, they are more likely to experience death as a result.

The most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Heart disease
  • Certain medications
  • Advanced age

Source: WebMD

Physical therapy for strokes

Post-stroke physical therapy represents a major part of the stroke rehabilitation process. Following a stroke, patients may need to entirely relearn basic muscle movements, so physical therapy often begins as soon as 24 hours after a stroke. A licensed physical therapist can help stroke victims stimulate affected muscles to restore circulation and prevent further muscle deterioration, even before stretching or strengthening exercises are possible.

As the patient regains strength, a physical therapist will create a personalized recovery plan that progresses from the most basic tasks and movements to exercises that will improve balance and coordination skills while also retraining the brain. Stroke physical therapy programs can be inpatient or outpatient, depending on the severity of the stroke symptoms.

Source: Saebo

Luna’s physical therapists treat stroke victims
across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County

Luna employs physical therapists that specialize in helping patients to recover from stroke and other types of neurological trauma. Our PTs understand how to guide patients into relearning complex bodily movements as safely as possible, combining proven techniques with customized routines to produce post-stroke recovery programs that will help restore the patient’s brain and muscle functions, and improve their overall quality of life.

With Luna, patients can receive physical therapy in the comfort of their own homes. Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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