Life After Stroke

The Importance of Rehabilitation Therapy after a Stroke

Have you or a loved one had a stroke?

If so, you or a loved one may experience difficulty doing daily tasks which were once routine and easy. Neurologic rehabilitation can make a big difference by targeting specific areas and help individuals improve skills and abilities that have been impaired because of a stroke.

These are some of the ways a stroke can affect you or a loved one:

  • Muscle Weakness: A stroke may affect muscles of the face, throat, trunk, arms, and/or legs. This can result in difficulty with facial expressions, swallowing, speaking, using arms and hands, and balance and walking.
  • Sensory Impairments: A stroke may impact the ability to process information about your body. Areas of the body may have numbness or tingling.  Some individuals may lose the ability to know where each body part is in space.  Tastes or smells can be altered.
  • Tone/spasticity:  A stroke may make certain muscles contract and/or spasm uncontrollably, or be flaccid with no ability to move. This can make movement much more difficult.
  • Coordination and balance: A stroke may limit the ability to perform coordinated movements, making balance and movement unsteady or unsafe.
  • Language challenges – a stroke may impact the speech centers in the brain, making it difficult for survivors to understand and/or create speech.
  • Vision/spatial awareness  – a stroke may impact how the brain processes visual information. This can make vision blurry, impair depth perception, create double vision, or create  “blind spots” in the visual field.
  • Issues with memory or cognition:  A stroke may impact memory, or the ability to perform higher-level thinking skills such as multi-tasking or problem solving.
  • Fatigue –  Most people recovering from a stroke reports significant fatigue and require much more rest.  
  • Incontinence – A stroke can interfere with our body’s ability to know when it has to use the bathroom, and/or interfere with the control of the muscles used in either urination or defecation.

Research shows that therapy is more effective the sooner it is delivered after a stroke. But therapy can be effective any time after to improve function, independence, and quality of life.  Ongoing rehabilitation can enhance and restore function and confidence to achieve higher levels of independence.

Our Neurologic Rehabilitation Specialists

Here at Colorado In Motion, we have some of the most highly trained physical and occupational therapists in Northern Colorado! Several of our physical and occupational therapists specialize in neurologic conditions and are current with the latest advances in rehabilitation. Our specialists will work with you or your loved one to retrain the body in areas that have been affected and to compensate for skills that may have been lost. We strive to create a treatment plan that fosters improvements for a fuller, more active life for survivors!

The Role of Physical Therapy

Every patient is different, and a multifaceted customized approach works best. Physical therapy plays an important role in life after stroke. Targeted exercises coupled with regular practice can significantly improve motor skills and restore function in many individuals.

These are just some of the ways that physical therapy can help after a stroke.

  • Strength and endurance training
  • Ambulation/gait training including body weight support treadmill training
  • Wheelchair management and propulsion
  • Transfer training (the ability to get from one surface to another, like from a chair to a toilet).
  • Balance training and fall reduction
  • Tone and spasticity management
  • Pain management
  • Bracing and splinting recommendations
  • Bowel and/or bladder continence training
  • Caregiver training to decrease the burden of care

Patients recovering from a stroke need therapists who understand injuries to the nervous system, and how to optimize recovery with the complexities of a stroke; It is much more than just doing exercises. Skilled physical therapists guide the recovery process and make it more effective and efficient.

The Role of Occupational Therapy

For many people who’ve had one or more strokes, re-learning the daily tasks of life is a big part of rehabilitation. That’s where occupational therapy comes in. Through this, a patient can be retaught many of the following daily skills all while regaining the use of your arm and/or leg:

  • Self-Care tasks such as dressing, grooming, and feeding
  • Household tasks such as meal prep, laundry, and yard work
  • Vision therapy to address neglect, double vision, or loss of vision
  • Increasing function of affected arm/hand through regaining movement and fine motor skills
  • Positioning and orthotic recommendations to prevent arm pain and tone
  • Returning to community tasks such as grocery shopping and attending events
  • Returning to leisure pursuits
  • Functional cognition to include paying bills and managing medications
  • Returning to work or volunteering

An occupational therapist can help a patient relearn these and other important skills through an interactive, supportive approach that engages the individual and fosters greater independence.

A Targeted Yet Comprehensive Approach

Each person is unique, and no two people are affected exactly the same way by a stroke. This is why your therapist will work closely with you to create a customized plan that addresses your specific needs. Through a targeted, comprehensive approach you will have the opportunity to maximize functional mobility and daily tasks.  Stroke affects people in a variety of ways and can have drastic impacts on quality of life.  The good news is physical and occupational therapy can help address many of these side effects, and help people recover more quickly.  Reach out to CIM to learn how we can help you or a loved one recover from a stroke.

To Learn More

Colorado In Motion works daily with our patients to guide and accelerate healing, restore motion, and improve skill and ability levels so that they may live to the fullest! Our services help our clients engage in activities they might otherwise not be able to do.

If you have had a stroke, you are a survivor! Turn to Colorado In Motion to make the most of our top-quality rehabilitation services. Our therapists who specialize in neurological disorders are some of the best around, receiving ongoing training in the latest, most effective techniques available.

If a friend or a family member needs help following a stroke, bring them to Colorado In Motion. Our therapists have the right background to assist with rehabilitation and help bring about improvements in a wide range of areas. Contact Colorado In Motion today!