When you get the news that your loved one has had a stroke, you find yourself immediately wondering if they will ever be the same again. While a stroke does take it's toll on the mind and body, there are many ways that medicine has made it possible to help stroke victims recover both physically and mentally. Although strokes are something to always be taken quite seriously, do not assume that it is the end of the world. Get to know what you can expect as your loved one recovers and rehabilitates from their stroke so that you can help them along the way, providing emotional and moral support.
Aquatic therapy is the use of a water environment, usually a shallow pool, in which patients perform exercises, relax, and comfortably begin to regain confidence in their mobility and muscle strength. When a person suffers a stroke, more often than not, at least one side of their body becomes weakened due to damage to the brain and nerves.
The mind and nervous system has to be retrained to support the affected side of the body. This process will help to improve mobility and can make talking, eating, and forming facial expressions easier. Aquatic therapy from a clinic like Advanced Physical Therapy helps with this process because a patient with weakened muscles can perform exercises easier and without fear of falling or sustaining any injuries in the process.
Functional Electrical Stimulation
Another means of treatment that is commonly used for stroke recovery is known as functional electrical stimulation. This treatment uses electrical impulses to stimulate contractions in weakened muscles. While the thought of electroshock therapy may seem a little frightening to you, it can actually do a great deal of good in your loved one's recovery process.
Sometimes, your loved one is unable to voluntarily contract and work those muscles, especially right after their stroke. Functional electrical stimulation can help to get those muscles stronger, faster and prevent them from weakening further until your loved one can work those muscles on their own.
In addition to relearning to walk and use the muscles on the affected side of the body for basic and fine motor functions, your loved one may have to learn to speak again. When a person has a stroke, their facial muscles are often affected. Plus, the areas within the brain that hold the memories for language and the physical action of speech are often damaged as well.
Speech-language therapy helps to retrain your loved one's facial muscles to properly form words, and can even help them swallow if their throat muscles were also affected. In addition, the brain will have to be reprogrammed essentially to rewire the pathways for language use and retention. This can be very frustrating for the patient when they want to say something and cannot do so. So, be patient with your loved one if they try to communicate with you as speaking will be challenging for them.
Now that you know what to expect as your loved one recovers from their stroke, you can better help them through the process. Be patient and encouraging as they undergo these and other treatments, and don't lose faith that they will recover fully.