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Why is physical therapy so important in stroke rehabilitation?

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Stroke rehabilitation can sometimes be a difficult process. After a stroke, patients may be left with paralysis, especially unilateral paralysis. Pain as well as sensory impairment must be controlled. is a key part of the treatment plan.

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Physical therapists begin stroke rehabilitation shortly after the stroke occurs, while the patient is still in the acute phase of treatment. The physical therapist first conducts an assessment to determine what disability issues must be addressed during stroke rehabilitation.

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Some possible issues are: lack of strength and endurance, limited range of motion, sensory problems in the limbs, and difficulty walking. Stroke rehabilitation will focus on the problems shown by the patient. A treatment plan will be developed.

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The patient will learn to use the extremities that have been temporarily disabled by the stroke. During stroke rehabilitation, it will be determined if these limbs can reach their previous potential. If not, the physical therapist will teach the patient how to manage without the full use of these limbs.

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One issue in stroke rehabilitation is known as learned non-use. This is when a stroke patient does everything he or she can to avoid using the limb affected by the stroke. If left to their own devices, they can atrophy the limb from non-use, which can lead to further paralysis.

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Physical therapists use stroke rehabilitation to ensure that patients do make an effort to use their damaged limbs. They can do this in a variety of ways. Sometimes it helps for the physical therapist to tap or touch the limb they want the patient to use.

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If the patient does not readily participate in active range of motion exercises, passive exercises can be used, where the physical therapist moves the limb themselves. There are also times when the patient will try to use the affected limb, but will naturally return to the functioning limb. In such cases, stroke rehabilitation may require gentle restraint of the healthy limb.

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Helping the patient relearn to switch from one task to another can be a difficult task in stroke rehabilitation. This is partly due to problems with the brain. The cues to move muscles and joints in order to change movements come slowly. This is why practice is so important. The more physical therapists help patients in this area, the easier it is to do.

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Recent studies have shown that stroke rehabilitation can continue long after hospitalization. In the past, stroke patients received a brief round of physical therapy during their hospitalization and for a few weeks shortly afterward.

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New research suggests that if physical therapy is continued gradually at home, more advanced stroke rehabilitation can be facilitated. Patients will learn to walk better. They will gain the strength to do daily chores. They will also achieve better posture and more balance, which can prevent falls.

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Stroke rehabilitation includes a number of therapies, all of which are designed to restore function to the patient’s affected limbs. Electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy and games have all been used. Stroke rehabilitation is not complete without the help of physical therapy services.