A stroke happens when blood clots or broken blood vessels cut off the blood supply to your brain. Strokes can cause considerable impairment in cognition, language, motor, and sensory skills. This is why it's considered to be a leading reason for severe long-term disability.
When you are recovering from a stroke, it may require patience, hard work, and commitment because it is a lengthy process and may take years to recover.
Stroke rehabilitation aims to help you relearn skills you lost when a stroke affected part of your brain. Stroke rehabilitation helps you regaining independence and improves your quality of life. Strokes affect each person differently, and thus, each person's ability to recover varies widely.
Consult your doctor to find out which therapies and treatments you would prefer according to your condition. The stroke rehabilitation program will increase your chances of regaining affected brain and body function.
When should stroke rehabilitation begin?
You are more likely to regain lost abilities and skills if you begin stroke rehabilitation sooner. Your doctors' will start your recovery after him/her:
Stabilize your medical condition
Control life-threatening conditions
Prevent another stroke
Limit any stroke-related complications
Factors affecting the outcome of stroke rehabilitation
Strokes recovery usually varies from person to person. It depends on many conditions on how soon you may recover.
Typically, successful stroke rehabilitation depends on:
Physical factors, which include the seriousness of your stroke in terms of both cognitive and physical effects.
Emotional factors, such as how far you can stick with rehabilitation activities outside of therapy sessions depending on your motivation and mood.
Social factors, such as the support of your friends and family
Therapeutic factors involve how soon you start the rehabilitation process and how skilled the medical team is in providing you treatment.
There is a lengthy rate of recovery after a stroke. But after proper treatment, performance can improve even 12 to 18 months after a stroke.
Where does stroke rehabilitation take place?
Your recovery will typically start in the hospital after a stroke. If your condition is stable, the doctor will put you on rehabilitation within two days of the stroke and continue after your release from the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, you and your family will work with hospital social workers and your care team to determine the best rehabilitation setting.
The options include:
Inpatient rehabilitation units: These facilities are either part of some hospitals and clinics that have rehabilitation units. Other units are independent units. You may stay at an inpatient unit facility for up to two to three weeks as part of an intensive rehabilitation program.
Outpatient units: If you receive outpatient care, you may spend a few hours at the facility a couple of days a week.
Skilled nursing facilities: Some facilities specialized stroke rehabilitation programs while others offer physical, occupational, and other types of therapy that can help you recover. However, these therapies are not as intense as those provided at hospital rehabilitation units.
Home-based programs: When you have access to treatment at home, this may be more comfortable and convenient. However, you won't be able to do exercises that require specialized equipment.
Consult your doctor and family about the best option for you.
Who participates in your stroke rehabilitation team?
Stroke rehabilitation constitutes a variety of specialists.
Specialists who can help with physical needs include:
Therapeutic recreation specialists
Dietician Social worker
What's involved in stroke rehabilitation?
There are different approaches to stroke rehabilitation. Depending on the part of the body or type of ability affected by your stroke, your rehabilitation plan will be formed by your doctor.
Physical activities might include:
Motor-skill exercises: To improve your muscle strength and coordination, these exercises are suggested by the doctor. You may have therapy to strengthen your swallowing.
Mobility training: Your medical team will provide you with mobility aids, such as a walker, canes, wheelchair, or ankle brace, to stabilize and strengthen your ankle to help support your body's weight relearn to walk.
Constraint-induced therapy or forced-use therapy: This therapy restrains your unaffected limb while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function.
Range-of-motion therapy: Certain exercises and treatments are performed to ease muscle tension (spasticity) and help you regain range of motion.
Functional electrical stimulation: To stimulate and re-educate your muscles, electricity is applied to weakened muscles, causing them to contract.
Robotic technology: To regain strength and function in the limbs, robotic devices can assist impaired limbs with repetitive motions.
Wireless technology: To increase post-stroke activity, an activity monitor might help you.
Virtual reality: This therapy uses video games and other computer-based interaction for a simulated, real-time environment.
Cognitive and emotional activities might include:
Therapy for cognitive disorders: Occupational therapy and speech therapy will help you regain lost cognitive abilities, such as processing, memory, social skills, problem-solving, and judgment, and safety awareness.
Therapy for communication disorders: Speech therapy will help you achieve lost listening, speaking, writing, and comprehension abilities.
Psychological evaluation and treatment: To improve emotional adjustment, participate in counseling, or a support group.
Medication: The doctor might prescribe an antidepressant or a drug that affects alertness, agitation, or movement.
Experimental therapies include:
Non-invasive brain stimulation: To help improve a variety of motor skills, trans cranial magnetic stimulation has been used with some success.
Biological therapies have been used and investigated as part of a clinical trial.
Alternative medicine: Treatments such as herbal therapy, massage, and acupuncture and oxygen therapy are being investigated.
What's New Technological Advancement Has Been Done for Stroke Rehabilitation?
The brain sends nerve signals to the muscles when a person intends to move a part of her or his body. After a stroke, some patients have paralysis. People whose nervous systems are damaged cannot send these signals reliably to the muscles and thus suffer from physical disabilities and difficulty moving.
Until now, such disabilities have been considered challenging to treat. A newly developed "cybernetic treatment," a revolutionary robot treatment system, has been designed to regenerate and improve the patient's brain-neuro-physical functions. Cybernics is a new academic field established by Dr. Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai.
Cybernic Technologies are human assistive technologies. This treatment has begun providing dramatic changes in patients' abilities to move autonomously. CYBERDYNE has introduced Cybernic Systems provided by Accumulation, analysis, and AI processing of IoH/IoT Big Data to treat the patients and help improve mobility.
Cyberdyne has developed HAL® Hybrid Assistive Limb® - the world's first cyborg-type robot that can improve, enhance, and support the wearer's bodily functions and physical capability.
How Does HAL® Hybrid Assistive Limb® Works?
During a stroke, the areas of the brain associated with specific functions suffer damages. Based on neuroplasticity, the healthy parts of the brain may take over those functions, and the abilities can be restored.
Neuroplasticity forms the 'muscle building' part of the brain. When we practice things, these things that we do often make us stronger as the connections called the synapses within the brain are constantly becoming stronger. Thus, imitating an action regularly is the physical basis of why making a thought or action repeatedly increases its power. Over time, it automatically becomes a part of us. We become what we think and how we act.
The HAL has been developed in such a manner that wearing of HAL® leads to a fusion of "man," "machine," and "information." HAL® supports a physically challenged person to move and assist him or her to exert more significant motor energy than usual. HAL® is also considered as the system that accelerates a motor learning of the brain.
Results of Cyberdyne -HAL® Hybrid Assistive Limb®
Compared to traditional rehabilitation, treatment with HAL improves the patient's ability to walk by five times. The exoskeleton HAL (hybrid assistive limb) has proven to enhance walking functions in chronic stroke patients when using it for body-weight supported treadmill training. Results have shown that locomotor training using the HAL is feasible for chronic stroke patients.
Results of Stroke rehabilitation
A successful stroke recovery depends on a variety of factors, including:
how much impact the stroke caused
how soon you started the recovery
When starting the recovery, how high was your motivation levels?
your age when the stroke happened
Other Conditions or medical problems that can affect recovery
Stroke rehabilitation takes time. This can be a long and frustrating experience. You may face difficulties along the way. However, when you work towards your well-being, dedication, and willingness to work will help you gain the most benefit.