Physiotherapy following a stroke
The body’s movement and general functionality can be severely affected by a stroke. Early diagnosis and assessment of this is imperative to aiding a successful recovery as the recovery rate of the brain is at its greatest in the first three months after a stroke. Our Physiotherapists work with patients both on the ward and in the customised gym and rehabilitation centre within our Physiotherapy Unit, applying specialist skills to improve the body’s movement and function, optimising muscle tone and improving balance, co-ordination and function following a stroke.
At the hospital, you will need to be assessed for the most appropriate management plan. This may involve scans, tests, medication and medical and nursing care.
You should meet therapists soon after this when you are medically stable. They may be a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and/or a speech and language therapist who will work intensively with you start you on your way to recovery.
Physiotherapy’s value in the treatment of a stroke helps promote activity and a healthy lifestyle. Physiotherapy focuses on a physical approach to maximise potential in the function and movement of the body with an end goal of benefiting people both physically and psychologically and getting them back to carrying out daily activities.
How can stroke affect movement?
- Weakness or even complete paralysis in the muscles on one side of the body.
- Limbs may move in a different way than usual when trying to use them.
- Limbs may feel heavy.
- Problems with posture and balance that increases the chance of a fall
First three months
After a stroke, our brains are unable to replace damaged cells, so recovery depends on your brain’s ability to reorganise its undamaged cells to make up for cells that were damaged during the stroke. This is known as neuroplasticity. The recovery rate of the brain is at its greatest in the first three months after a stroke as a result intensive rehabilitation is most beneficial at this stage to address the problems and difficulties your stroke has left you with.
What if you are managing but are still not 100%?
Physiotherapy is just as important when you are doing most things but you are not quite 100%. This is to reduce your chances of injury from muscle imbalances and to progress and challenge the final stages of your rehabilitation enabling you to do all that you were doing before as quickly as possible.
Your brain can continue to heal for up to two years
As you continue to improve and get better your exercises need to become more challenging to optimize your capabilities.
What happens after two years?
You may understandably get tired of exercising for such a long period, however further gains can be made down the track when you are ready.
Physiotherapy at a later stage can optimise your physical status and more importantly make you aware of bad habits that may have developed so that you can change them and find easier ways to do things.
At The Stroke Unit we offer treatment from the physiotherapy unit based within the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. The unit is one of the UK’s leading physio centres and offers a comprehensive range of treatments, premium facilities, and is staffed by expert chartered physiotherapists with a cross section of specialist skills. Our physios are experienced in dealing with the challenges and issues that people face when dealing with a Stroke and devise personalised plans to benefit each individual that they treat.
Exercise is key in how a physio can help patients to improve their well-being and all of our physios work on a personal level with each individual to assess their own requirements and what suits them best. As well as the one to one sessions our physios will teach you exercises that can be performed between sessions, possibly with the assistance of a family member or carer. By doing this it helps increase your physical activity and allows us to monitor your progress to see what works best for each individual between sessions.
We encourage you to book an appointment to see just how we can help you.