A stroke is referred to as a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) and is the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. This occurs when the blood flow to a particular portion of the brain is restricted from a clot or bleed. Depending on where the stroke occurred in the brain, how extensive the damage was and the duration of the stroke, dictate the severity of the symptoms and recovery.
Common symptoms of stroke are a slurring of speech, facial droop, weakness or loss of function in one side of the body, either in the arm, legs or both. Immediate emergency medical attention is needed if these symptoms begin. Stroke can affect cognitive function, speech, the ability to swallow, walking, balance, strength and function.
After medical management, rehabilitation is needed to assist the person in regaining as much function as possible. The brain and nervous system are very plastic in their ability to adapt to the damaged area. Many people are able to regain most function in their affected limbs, speech and enjoy life with modifications.
How therapy helps
Physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery of a person who has suffered a stroke. A thorough evaluation is done in various stages of the rehabilitation process to determine progression in strength, transfers, walking, balance, range of motion and safety. Our physical therapists approach the care of each person as an individual adapting the best rehabilitative process to each case. A great deal is done to ensure the safety of the person with normal transfers from sit-to-stand, getting in / out of a car, stairs and uneven terrains. In addition, the strengthening and exercising of muscles provide positive feedback to the nervous system to accelerate adaptation and function.
Occupational therapists work very closely in the process to improve upper extremity and hand function. Learning to write, improving dexterity, movement of the elbow and shoulder are crucial components to functional use of the arm. In addition, occupational therapists assist in cognitive improvements, and especially adaptations to daily activities such as dressing, caring for oneself, cooking and work activities. Many of these skills we take for granted have to be re-learned.
Speech therapists work with muscle deficits of speech, swallowing and facial expressions. In addition, cognitive challenges can help increase the functioning of the brain to problem solve many of life’s daily activities. For more information contact us at Cherokee, Storm Lake, Ida Grove, Denison, IA centers.