Stroke recovery tips: Rebuilding after a stroke

For nearly a century, scientists and healthcare providers thought that brain cells, called neurons, were “hardwired,” like electrical wiring on a circuit board. The common theory was that if damage occurred to these “threads”, say as a result of a stroke, there was little that could be done to repair the brain.

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The problem with the “hardwired” theory was that early pioneers and scientists studied the brains of deceased individuals. This method of thinking was akin to studying a telephone pole and forming hypotheses about a living tree.

Fortunately, for the benefit of all stroke survivors and their loved ones, the “hardwired” theory has been debunked. We now know that the brain is actually “plastic”, which means that under certain conditions it can reshape, reshape and repair itself after being damaged. We call this phenomenon “neuroplasticity” and it brings great news: there is indeed hope for you or your loved one after suffering a stroke.

Stroke Rehabilitation Support System

It takes a village, a team of neurorehabilitation professionals, to help stroke survivors reach their full recovery potential. This team includes nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, recreation therapists, vocational specialists, and psychologists in addition to physicians and other providers guiding patient care. The stroke survivor’s loved ones are also absolutely essential in helping with recovery.

Early treatment by a specialist team can reduce the risk of death and disability after a stroke. Rehabilitation can and should begin as early as 24 hours after the stroke. This can take place in any hospital setting, even the intensive care unit. Rehabilitation professionals are trained to perform an initial assessment to determine the best way to help the stroke survivor. A tailored, individualized care plan is created to determine the best course of action, including recommending the optimal dosage (intensity and frequency of treatment), type of interventions, and the best setting to receive therapy for a optimal recovery.

In addition to a hospital, rehabilitation professionals may provide care in a variety of settings, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, transitional facilities, or group homes, outpatient clinics or even the home of a stroke survivor.

Best Practices for Recovery After a Stroke

Over the past decades, scientific studies have guided the practice of rehabilitation professionals to improve the lives of stroke survivors. Some features of the treatment have positive results.

  • Higher frequency of treatment (eg, number of visits or duration of therapy).
  • Higher intensity of treatment (eg, therapy that safely increases heart rate and significantly challenges the stroke survivor).
  • Ongoing treatment (for example, undergoing drug rehab at each stage of the recovery process).
  • Repetition of rehabilitation exercises (for example, continuous practice).
  • Specialized care (eg, treatment by rehabilitation professionals who have additional training in stroke care).
  • Begin rehabilitation early in the recovery process.

Rehabilitation components

Treatment may include exercises and training to improve strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, coordination, fine motor skills, cognition, swallowing, and communication skills. Rehabilitation professionals can also determine if specific medical equipment, such as an assistive device or orthotics, can help improve safety, mobility, activities of daily living, and overall quality of life. Education of the stroke survivor and their loved ones is a crucial part of treatment and can have a lasting impact.

New technological advances are also helping professionals and stroke survivors in the recovery process, including body-weight supported treadmill systems, robotic walking assist devices, functional electrical stimulation devices , mechanical devices to assist arm movements, digital technologies, augmented and virtual reality and the non-invasive brain. stimulation.

Recovery occurs faster in the first weeks after a stroke. However, it is very important to note that improvement can still occur months or even years after a stroke. Do not abandon ! Connect with a rehabilitation professional who can guide you through every step of your recovery.

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