Recovering From A Stroke: What To Expect From Treatments

When a person you care about suffers from a stroke, you may not know what to expect. Your first concern, of course, is your loved one's survival. And after that, your primary concern becomes their recovery. After all, a stroke can have serious effects, both mental and physical, that a person will need to work on to overcome. So, get to know what treatments will help your loved one to recover from their stroke, both mentally and physically so that you can help them through this challenging and often quite difficult process. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a must when it comes to recovering from a stroke. Often what happens with a stroke is the person experiences extreme damage to the motor function on one side of their body. And sometimes, they may have motor function problems on both sides of their body following a stroke (though this is quite rare). 

As such, physical therapy is necessary to help rebuild muscle strength, mobility, and to restore overall function. Physical therapy techniques and exercises depend largely upon the extent of the damage incurred by the stroke. They can include relearning to walk, working the facial muscles to regain speech abilities, or even working to regain motion and function in the hands through basic tasks such as touching the fingers together in succession. 

Occupational Therapy

The majority of physical therapy activities are designed for helping to restore gross motor function, or the larger more basic movements for balance, walking, and basic tasks. Occupational therapy, on the other hand, works similarly but for specific tasks such as eating and dressing. 

Because many stroke victims have permanent impairments to their motor functions, your loved one will likely need to develop coping strategies and new ways to navigate the world and complete tasks that circumvent those newfound shortcomings.

In addition to actual occupational therapy exercises, an occupational therapist may ask your loved one to visualize or mentally complete the actions and tasks requested of them. This technique, known as motor imagery, helps your loved one's brain to relearn or remember how to complete these actions.

The mental aspect is just as important as the physical damage to neurons may require pathways in the brain to be rewired to bypass damaged neurons that no longer function. Motor imagery may also be used with physical therapy treatments and techniques.  

When your loved one suffers a stroke, you want to be there for them in every way you can. Now that you know what to expect from their recovery process, you can be there for them providing encouragement and assistance through their rehabilitation.