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On the mend: Stroke rehabilitation methods

A stroke can affect different people in different ways, meaning stroke survivors may have recovery methods better suited to them than others.

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A stroke can effect different people in different ways, meaning different stroke survivors may have methods of recovery better suited to them than others.

An important way of encouraging recovery from stroke is beginning a rehabilitation programme as soon as possible.

Here, SR Times looks at the traditional methods of stroke rehabilitation, for more alternative options check our insight into CBD oil and acupuncture.

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy can help stroke patients to regain their physical function, or at least help to compensate for any loss in physical motion after stroke.

With stroke often causing permanent or temporary paralysis on one side of the body, physical therapy is important in order to improve mobility in the areas affected by stroke.

Physical therapy for stroke will often include strength and mobility training, accompanied by motion exercises.

Through motor relearning techniques, physical therapists can help with improving the function of limbs affected by stroke. 

Physical therapy encourages stimulation in effected muscles and nerves before a stroke patient is even able to use them again.

After you have recovered to the point where you are once again mobile, physical therapy helps to retrain your brain and regain control of your body.

Occupational therapy

This kind of therapy focuses on restoring ability to be able perform everyday activities, such as driving and household jobs.

An occupational therapist can also help you to defy any physical limitations, as well as adapting your home and make you aware of any safety concerns.

A common type of training used in occupational therapy is perceptual training.

This helps those with sensory and perceptual deficits, such as visual impairments, perception problems or paralysis of one side.

Another method used is repetitive activities, this can help stroke patients to relearn everyday tasks that are a necessity. 

The main focus of occupational therapy is to help you to regain your sense of independence and to improve quality of life after stroke.

Mirror therapy

This method helps those who have been left with one side paralysed or weakened because of stroke.

Here, your therapist will have you move your unaffected limb and watch it in a mirror. 

The mirror is used because it makes your brain process the movement in the mirror like it is happening to the affected limb, with the long term hopes that this will encourage improvements in control of the affected side.

Neurological therapy

Neurological therapy is used to help improve cognitive and motor impairments that have been caused by nerve and brain damage caused by a stroke.

This method can include the likes of brain exercises which include brain teasers, music and puzzles.

Another method used is magnetic brain stimulation, which is a noninvasive therapy which stimulates nerve cells, which in turn encourages neuroplasticity and brain healing.

Speech therapy

After a stroke, some patients can struggle with speech and swallowing. Speech and language pathologists can help patients to recover their ability to communicate and swallow.

To help with swallowing, your therapist may help to encourage better body positioning, as well as getting you to do tongue strengthening exercises. They will also assess as to wether you need any specific dietary requirements.

To help with communication problems, a therapist can help with construction sentences, remembering words and comprehension.

Word meaning and repetition is a popular way to help build new neural pathways between words and their definitions.

Recreational therapy

Recreational therapy is similar to occupational therapy in the sense that it encourages you to return to the activities you enjoy the most.

Recreational therapists will use a mix of some of the aforementioned therapies in order to help you to be able to participate in leisure time activities.

Speech therapy enables you to be able to communicate, whilst physical therapy will enable you to be able to take part.

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