Stroke is a debilitating condition that can cause long-term disability in individuals. The effects of stroke can vary widely depending on the severity and location of the brain injury. While stroke can be a life-changing event, physiotherapy has been shown to be effective in improving the quality of life for stroke survivors. In this blog post, we will discuss what patients can expect from physiotherapy in the acute, subacute, and chronic stages of stroke.
The acute stage of stroke refers to the first few days following a stroke. During this time, the focus of physiotherapy is on preventing complications and providing early rehabilitation. The primary goal of physiotherapy during the acute stage is to promote early mobilization and prevent muscle atrophy, which can lead to further complications.
Physiotherapists may use a variety of techniques during the acute stage, including passive range of motion exercises, bed mobility exercises, and early ambulation. Passive range of motion exercises involve moving the patient’s limbs through a range of motion to prevent muscle stiffness and contractures. Bed mobility exercises focus on helping the patient move in bed to prevent pressure ulcers and improve circulation. Early ambulation involves getting the patient out of bed and walking as soon as possible.
In addition to these exercises, physiotherapists may also use electrical stimulation to help activate muscles that have been affected by the stroke. This can help prevent muscle atrophy and promote recovery. Electrical stimulation involves applying a small electrical current to the affected muscle to stimulate it to contract.
The subacute stage of stroke refers to the period from a few days to several weeks following a stroke. During this time, the focus of physiotherapy is on continuing rehabilitation and promoting recovery. The goal of physiotherapy during the subacute stage is to help patients regain as much function as possible and improve their ability to perform activities of daily living.
Physiotherapists may use a variety of techniques during the subacute stage, including active range of motion exercises, resistance training, and gait training. Active range of motion exercises involve having the patient move their limbs actively through a range of motion to improve strength and flexibility. Resistance training involves using weights or resistance bands to strengthen muscles. Gait training involves helping the patient improve their ability to walk and maintain their balance.
In addition to these exercises, physiotherapists may also use neuromuscular re-education to help patients regain control of their affected limbs. Neuromuscular re-education involves using exercises and techniques to help the brain re-learn how to control the affected muscles. This can help patients regain function and improve their ability to perform daily activities.
The chronic stage of stroke refers to the period after several months following a stroke. During this time, the focus of physiotherapy is on promoting long-term recovery and helping patients maintain their function. The goal of physiotherapy during the chronic stage is to help patients continue to improve and maintain their ability to perform activities of daily living.
Physiotherapists may use a variety of techniques during the chronic stage, including functional training, balance training, and endurance training. Functional training involves helping patients perform activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, cooking, and cleaning. Balance training involves helping patients maintain their balance and prevent falls. Endurance training involves helping patients improve their cardiovascular fitness and ability to perform physical activity.
In addition to these exercises, physiotherapists may also use task-specific training to help patients improve their ability to perform specific tasks. Task-specific training involves practicing specific activities that the patient wants to improve, such as reaching for an object or walking up stairs.
In conclusion, physiotherapy is an important part of stroke rehabilitation. The focus of physiotherapy varies depending on the stage