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What is a stroke?

A strokes occurs when there is an interruption in the blood supply to a particular part of the brain, ultimately causing the cells in that area of the brain to die. There are different types of strokes, including ischemic, which occurs there is a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain, and hemorrhagic, which occurs when a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures. When cells die in a particular part of the brain, the area in the body that it controls experiences dysfunction. Common are weakness, paralysis, and impaired balance and coordination.

How can physiotherapy help with stroke recovery?

Physiotherapy plays a vital role in stroke rehabilitation. There is strong evidence to support the use of immediate and intensive physiotherapy to regain function after a strokes. Strokes patients will often be admitted into a stroke rehabilitation unit or stroke program at their local hospital. The intervention focuses on reestablishing neuro-pathways so that the body can relearn movements. Though rapid recovery occurs in the initial months following a stroke, improvements from physiotherapy can be seen up to 2 years. Therefore, it is important that patients continue with rehabilitation after discharge from hospital. In the case of chronic stoke patients, or those who suffered a stroke years prior, physiotherapy can still be beneficial to improve strength and conditioning and learn adaptive techniques to maximize independence.