Stroke rehabilitation exercises
A stroke can be a life-changing experience and stroke patients may experience significant challenges in their health and recovery. The statistics are sobering, with roughly 40% of stroke patients experiencing a significant fall within one year of their stroke.
Stroke rehabilitation exercises are intended to help you regain movement and function in a safe way.
A stroke happens when blood is cut off to part of your brain. Depending on the area(s) of your brain affected, you may experience:
Difficulty with balance: Your ability to balance involves a number of the systems in your body working together and a stroke has the potential to cause dysfunction in the ability of these systems to coordinate with one another.
Difficulty with movement: It is common for stroke patients to experience varying difficulty with movement. This can be caused by muscle weakness or by contraction/spasm of muscles and can vary in severity and scope.
Difficulty with swallowing: In strokes where the brain stem is affected a loss in swallowing function is common. Cerebral strokes can also result in swallowing difficulties.
Suitable exercise has the potential to help improve difficulties with balance, movement and swallowing.
A common physical problem experienced by stroke patients, our physiotherapist has a number of ways to help restore your balance. Often this involves a lot of practice of simple exercises, such as standing with or without assistance. These exercises will be carried out in a way that ensures your safety at all times. As you progress, you may use the Biodex Balance System SD, specialist equipment that helps to increase balance and agility in a safe and effective way.
A reduction in your ability to move safely can have a real impact on your capacity for independent living, so our physiotherapist and occupational therapist will work to help restore and/or re-learn your ability to move safely.
Treadmills: We have a number of specialist treadmills – including the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and the Hydro Physio – that provide you with a safe way to regain muscle strength and increase confidence when standing and moving.
Mirror therapy: A stroke will often leave weakness, partial or temporal paralysis in one side of the body. With mirror therapy, a mirror is placed between the arms or legs of a patient. The reflected image of a moving limb can stimulate different parts of the brain, encouraging the brain to re-learn how to move the affected limb.
Mobility aids: From walking sticks and quad sticks to walking frames and wheelchairs, we have a comprehensive range of aids to assist you as you learn to safely mobilise again. Under expert guidance, you will gradually increase the distance you are able to move using a mobility aid.
Regaining as much function as possible for language, speech and swallowing is so important after a stroke, and the priority for our speech and language therapist is to optimise your ability to communicate and to swallow safely
- Exercises to aid swallowing: You may be taught different techniques to assist swallowing, such as moving your head into a different position to usual. If you are having difficulty eating certain foods, you will be given advice about the types of food that are easier to swallow, which types of food to avoid as well as what you should do if you start choking.
- Exercises to aid language and communication: You may need to practice saying specific words and making certain sounds. Exercises to strengthen the muscles in your mouth will be explained as well as advice in how to use your tongue, lips, jaw and facial muscles in order to produce specific sounds.