Suffering a stroke can be very devastating to a person’s quality of life that patients feel so hopeless and discouraged, to say the least. But all is not lost to a patient since chances of regaining or at least improving one’s condition can be very bright. This would involve the efforts of many health care providers as well as the support of the loved ones.
Very vital in this recovery and rehabilitation efforts are the physical therapists whose input may be required from the start until the patient may become independent to a degree. Here are the important functions that a physiotherapist may contribute in the overall rehabilitation of the patient:
Improve range of motion
After a stroke, it almost becomes impossible to move the affected limbs after being weakened or paralyzed. The physiotherapist addresses this concern by aiming to improve the patient’s range of motion through stretching exercises and other routines. Stretching exercises stimulate blood flow in the affected areas allowing it ease in movement. The patient will also be taught how to use the functional arm to help in the stretching exercises.
Help rebuild strength
Building of strength is very essential if a patient expects to gain mobility and improvement in condition. Strengthening exercises will allow the patient’s hand and arm the ability to grip and increase function of the limb. In the initial stages, the unaffected arm will be vital in exercising the weak parts. Later on, additional routines may be added by the physiotherapist to build muscle and strength as well as to provide tone to the muscles.
Stimulate the nerves
One effect of a stroke is the inability to send messages from the brain to the nerves in the muscles. This has a lot to do with the difficulty in moving and controlling actions of the body parts. With the guidance of the physical therapist, a patient may be given electrical stimulation to address this problem. This method has been very beneficial in helping a patient get control of the limbs, improving muscle tone, and relieving pain and other discomforts.
Regain motor skills
To be independent, a patient must have the motor skills to do activities that require precise movements such as the use of the hands. This is very important in tasks such as writing, reading, using spoons and forks, holding a glass, and many others. A physiotherapist will teach you exercises and techniques to achieve this and will guide you initially. The patient will have to do these repeatedly in order to see improvement, just like in anything when a person aims to learn at.
Importance of Physiotherapy
While these may be the fundamental contributions of physical therapy in the rehabilitation of a stroke patient, there are other things that a physiotherapist can be of great help. They can teach family members tips on how to aid the patient and they can suggest other therapies based on their evaluation. There is so much to be thankful to physiotherapy that we now see thousands of stroke victims regain, even partially, the quality of life they used to enjoy.