What is it?
A stroke is when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. This damages brain cells and the abilities they control are lost. This can include losing some or all movement!
- Muscle and joint weakness/stiffness
- Paralysis (unable to move) on one side of the body
- Changes in posture and balance
- Altered sensation in limbs (numbness, heaviness, pins and needles)
- Tiredness and changes in mood
- Difficulty with everyday tasks
Who is most at risk?
A stroke can happen to anyone, at anytime, and each person is affected differently.
Major risk factors include (2):
- High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and smoking
- Risk of stroke increases as you get older
- Family history of stroke
Can Physical Therapy help?
Yes! Physical therapists can help both before and after a stroke. We work with you to meet your specific needs and create meaningful goals to help lower your risk factors and/or get you back to your everyday activities!
Treatment may include (1):
- A full assessment to find the treatments that will best meet your needs
- Reducing pain
- Preventing joint stiffness and muscle tightness through manual therapy (hands on work)
- Exercises to improve strength, balance, coordination, and energy
- Improving heart function, confidence, and independence
What can you do to reduce the risk of stroke? (2)
- Limit alcohol intake
- Try to maintain a healthy body weight
- Be physically active
- Eat a healthy diet
For more information, check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
- Stroke Association UK Physiotherapy. https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/f16_physiotherapy_after_stroke_8pp_web.pdf. Retrieved on April 18, 2017
- Who Is at Risk for a Stroke? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/stroke/atrisk. Retrieved on April 19, 2017.