Physiotherapists and OTs experienced treating strokes
Stokes are the leading cause of disability in Australia.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interuppted. There are two main types of strokes:
- Haemorrhagic (blood vessels or area in the brain rupture, leaking blood into the brain)
- Ischaemic (a blood clot blocks the flow through blood vessels)
Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die.
There are many risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of a stroke, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Lifestyle choices (i.e. smoking, drug use)
- Congenital disorders
It is recommended to implement rehabilitation as early as possible. Depending on the severity of the stroke, there is a window post-stroke where the brain can still learn, develop & create new neural pathways.
Total Health Physio helps people who have experienced a stroke by offering professional Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy services. Our clinicians are amazing in their role of helping individuals post-stroke, and perform their duties with Trust, Compassion & Care.
A stroke patient is likely experiencing new challenges with their movement with degrees of paralysis to either, or both sides of the body.
The first steps involve promoting independent movement because many individuals are paralyzed or seriously weakened.
Our Physiotherapists help by optimising mobility through exercise rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation also teaches stroke survivors new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compensate for any residual disabilities.
A recurring component of Physiotherapy for strokes is falls prevention, where we improve the conditioning and balance of limbs.
Our Physiotherapists will also build upon the work performed by our OTs.
Stroke Occupational Therapy
Our Occupational Therapists work to optimise the environment a stroke patient is living in. We will primarily look at:
- If the environment is safe to live in
- If the environment is safe to access
- Assessing if assistive equipment or technology would benefit the person
- Assessing if home modifications (i.e. handrails, bathroom aids)
- Retraining practical skills, such as grip strength and reaching in the unaffected arm
Learn more about stroke treatment
Goal Setting for Stroke Patients
The severity of the stroke can vary, each patient’s goals will be different. During an initial assessment, we will ask what that person’s meaningful goals are.
For strokes, Physiotherapists try to maintain a level of function in both the affected and unaffected sides of the body. While it’s not always possible to restore full function, we’ve had amazing outcomes for stroke patients – individuals should never give up!
Goals may include:
- Mobility improvements from prescribing assistive equipment (i.e. gutter frame or four wheel walker)
- Transitioning from wheelchair to a walker
- Gaining the ability to walk unassisted
- Improving grip strength in both the affected and unaffected limbs to assist with daily tasks (i.e. brushing teeth and combing hair)
- Greater trunk control (the ability to sit upright in a wheelchair opposed to reclining, as well as the ability to lean and reach for objects)
- Higher overall independence
Goals often revolve around the ability to perform important daily tasks.
From this point, Total Health Physio would implement an evidence-based rehabilitation program to help the person achieve their goals!
Understanding Hemiplegia & Neuroplasticity
A positive element about recovery from stroke is that it’s possible to make changes to the neuroplasticity of the brain to achieve positive outcomes and relearn tasks. Neuroplasticity is the change in neural pathways and synapses, it is affected by factors such as environment, injuries, behaviour, movement & cognitive tasks.
The brain is an amazing organ that has the ability to retrain, it’s the repetitiveness of the task that causes the plasticity to occur.
In regards to a stroke, it is likely there has been damage to one hemisphere of the brain (hemiplegia) that previously controlled opposing limbs, so the patient must reorganise or form new connections between neurons.
People who have hemiplegia can often neglect their left or right side in their mind. As a result, people lose a degree of proprioception (the ability to perceive themselves in space) and a changed center of gravity. This leads to weak trunk and limb control and alters balance.
Physiotherapists help by performing rehabilitation specific to stroke patients which stimulate the neurons to reconnect, thus restoring capacity & function.
Strokes and Walking Progression
There is a lot of retraining of ambulation and walking associated with stroke patients.
People who have a stroke often experience what is referred to as a foot drop. A foot drop is when there is paralysis of the muscles which lift the foot, so it becomes challenging moving the foot around objects.
These patients usually have a prosthesis called an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), this helps patients by binding their feet to their lower leg, which aids in their ability to lift their foot.
In the event you require an AFO for yourself or a loved one, we can refer to you an excellent Orthotics company.
In addition to this, Physiotherapists will implement what is called gait retraining. Gait training will hopefully lead to:
- Improved overall balance
- The ability to clear the foot and walk safely
- Retraining the brain’s ability to perform the natural gait, which is heel-toe, heel-toe
Total Health Physio is ready to help
Given we specialise in aged care we have treated many patients affected by strokes. We have had many years of experience working with Stroke survivors and helping them achieve optimal outcomes and improve their independence and quality of life. Our team is comprised of qualified Australian Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists with clinical experience in stroke rehabilitation.
We look forward to the opportunity to go over and above for you and to form a meaningful relationship with you!