Stroke is a major cause of disability in the U.S. Receiving emergency care
as quickly as possible after the onset of stroke offers patients the best
chance at survival, yet long-term physical and cognitive disabilities
may still occur. Post-stroke rehabilitation, such as physical therapy,
is designed to help stroke survivors regain their independence and adapt
to new ways of completing tasks. At
Raulerson Hospital, stroke survivors can work with physical therapists, speech pathologists,
and other rehabilitation professionals.
Positioning and Transfers
Initially, a physical therapist is likely to focus on helping patients
make safe transfers from the bed to a chair and from a seated to a standing
position. Patients can also expect to learn how to position themselves
safely when in a seated or prone position, such as with the use of slings
and foam wedges. Proper positioning can help stroke survivors address
muscle spasms, stiffness, and similar problems.
Motor Imagery and Mental Practice
Another technique that physical therapists use with stroke survivors doesn’t
actually involve physical movement. Motor imagery and mental practice
helps to stimulate the part of the brain that is responsible for physical
movement control. Patients use this technique to mentally rehearse performing
movements of the limbs, hands, and feet. This can help patients
acquire control of physical movements.
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy
It’s common for stroke survivors to suffer from decreased strength
on one side of the body. With constraint-induced movement therapy, patients
can rebuild movement control and strength on the weakened side of the
body. It involves the placement of a sling or similar device on the stronger
arm, which reminds patients to use the weaker arm to practice task completion.
Partial Body Weight Support
Partial body weight support involves the use of an overhead suspension
system and harness, which supports some of the patient’s weight
as he or she walks on a treadmill. This technique helps patients gradually
regain their strength, coordination, balance, and posture. The physical
therapist progressively reduces the percentage of body weight support
as the patient improves.
Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation in Okeechobee, FL, is available
at Raulerson Hospital. Our community hospital provides a continuum of
care for stroke patients—from emergency care to follow-up to rehabilitation.
If you think you could be suffering a stroke, please call 911 for rapid
transportation to the emergency department. Otherwise, call (863) 763-9228
to speak to a registered nurse 24/7.