A stroke is almost like a bolt of lightning to the nervous system. The effects are difficult to predict. The objective with physical therapy is to make the most out of the given situation, and focus on the basics of motion, strength, balance and environmental awareness. A stroke can forever alter the patient physically and emotionally. Physical therapy plays a critical role in recovery by facilitating:
1. The programming of new movement patterns - Physical therapists will encourage patients to perform both active and passive movements with the upper and lower extremities. This will help the patient regain independence, starting with simple tasks like sitting upright in bed, and getting out of bed independently. These are essential aspects of a happy, healthy and independent life.
2. The importance of environmental awareness – Simple measures such as stroking the skin or tapping the joints can help regaining awareness of the senses. Orientation between the body and surrounding objects is often impacted.
3. Continued rehearsal at home - A home exercise program involves repetition and self-training for the patient. In most cases, support from a family member goes a long way for the patient.