brain is a remarkable organ. When the blood flow is cut off, new pathways can take over and supply
the blood to the damaged
area. Also, the brain can make compensations. One area will take over
the functions that were previously handled by a different area. This is called neuroplasticity.
strokes can and do
recover from most disabilities caused
by a stroke! Others with
more serious deficits,
massive strokes, may have serious permanent
disabilities but can still lead a productive life following a
begin as soon as possible after a stroke. The first
priority is to stabilize your medical condition and get
life-threatening conditions under control. Doctors also take measures
to prevent another stroke and limit any stroke-related complications.
However, once these steps have been taken, it's common for stroke
rehabilitation to start during your acute hospital
sooner you begin stroke rehabilitation,
the more likely you are to regain lost abilities and skills. Rehabilitation is imperative
following a stroke. Rehabilitation therapy must
start immediately and continue, to some degree, for
however long as possible.
New brain connections, neural pathways,
must be developed around the damaged area. The only way to
expedite these connections is through therapy. The
benefits come from helping the brain to reorganize itself with physical
therapy, which in turn helps the stroke survivor to recover functions
lost after a stroke.
rehabilitation is the combined
and coordinated use of medical, social, educational, and vocational
measures for retraining a person.
Some of the different types of medical
professionals who participate in the care of stroke patients during the
rehabilitation process include:
OF RECOVERY FROM A STROKE
recovery happens in phases. It takes place over a period of time that
can vary from a few weeks to a few years. Every stroke is different and
the extent of damage varies.
are the general phases that a stroke patient can expect to go through.
- This begins when a person first enters the hospital. Doctors will
determine the type of stroke and will provide the appropriate
treatment. This may consist of drugs to break up clots, tPA, and thin the
blood or surgery to repair a broken blood vessel. Treatment is aimed at
preventing another stroke from taking place and limiting the amount of
brain damage that occurs.
- After a stroke, some spontaneous recovery takes place for most
people. Abilities that may have been lost will begin to return. This
process can take place very quickly over the first few weeks, and then,
it may begin to taper off. Despite what hospital doctors
predict, most stroke survivors regain more than expected.
Doctors HAVE to give the worst case scenario.
- This phase usually takes place while the
patient is still in the
hospital. Various therapists and specialists
will work with the stroke victim to bring back lost skills. This can be
a very frustrating time for the patient as they become aware of their
limitations from the stroke. Oftentimes, this is the period where anger
or depression can set in. It's good to remember that with proper
therapy, many or most skills can be relearned.
Returning Home - This
can be a very exciting time, but adjustments may have to be made. Some
of the adjustments might be temporary or some may last for a lifetime.
For the stroke survivor, simple tasks
such as tying shoes or fastening pants can be difficult. These are easy
to remedy. Velcro shoes and drawstring pants can be worn. Other issues
may not be as easy. But take courage. There will be many experts to
ease this transition.