The goal of a stroke rehabilitation program is to help you relearn skills you lost when stroke affected part of your brain. Stroke rehabilitation can help you regain independence and improve your quality of life.
The severity of stroke complications and each person's ability to recover lost abilities varies widely. Researchers have found that the central nervous system is adaptive and can recover some functions. They also have found that it's necessary to keep practicing regained skills.
What's involved in stroke rehabilitation?
Stroke rehabilitation may include some or all of the following activities, depending on the part of the body or type of ability affected.
- Strengthening exercises - involves using exercises to help improve your muscle strength and coordination.
- Range of movement exercises - exercises and other treatments to help reduce muscle tension and regain range of movement.
- Gait re-training – learning to walk in as normal a pattern as possible is promoted in stroke rehab. This may include learning to use walking aids, such as a stick, or a plastic brace (orthosis) to stabilise and assist ankle strength to help support your body's weight while you relearn how to walk.
- Balance retraining – working the muscles and balance responses to make you as stable as possible and to prevent risk of falls.
- Transfer practise – learning to get up from the chair, get into bed, get into a car are examples of activities which may have become difficult for you.
- Upper limb activity – often walking is deemed the priority in stroke rehab programmes. At Physio-Life rehabilitation of the upper limb is just as important as the lower limb.
Equipment which may help stroke rehabilitation:
- Functional electrical stimulation involves using electricity to stimulate weakened muscles, causing them to contract. This may help with muscle re-education.
- Saebo Flex upper limb rehabilitation products – help strengthen the upper limb & regain function
- Virtual reality, such as the use of video games, is an emerging, computer-based therapy that involves interacting with a simulated, real-time environment.
When should stroke rehabilitation begin?
The sooner you begin stroke rehabilitation, the more likely you are to regain lost abilities and skills. However, your doctors' first priority is to stabilise your medical condition and control life-threatening conditions. They also take measures to prevent another stroke and limit any stroke-related complications.
How long does stroke rehabilitation last?
The duration of your stroke rehabilitation depends on the severity of your stroke and related complications. Although some stroke survivors recover quickly, most need some form of stroke rehabilitation long term, possibly months or years after their stroke.
Your stroke rehabilitation plan will change during your recovery as you relearn skills and your needs change. With ongoing practice, you can continue to make gains over time.
The length of each stroke rehabilitation therapy session varies depending on your recovery, severity of your symptoms and improvement with therapy.
Stroke rehabilitation takes time
Recovering from a stroke can be a long and sometimes frustrating experience. It's normal to face difficulties along the way. Dedication and willingness to work toward improvement will help you gain the most benefit.
How Physio-Life can help with stroke rehabilitation
- We have several experienced neurological Physiotherapists who work as part of our team
- We have a fully equipped therapy room
- We have access to FES muscle stimulation devices
- We are a free assessment clinic for Saebo rehabilitation products
- We have a good rapport with other therapists and Physicians in the area.
- We are able to see you in your own home if getting to the clinic is too difficult
- We don’t put a time-scale on your treatment. If improvements are being made then stroke rehabilitation should continue
By Rachel Canning, Physio-Life