More on physical therapy for stroke survivors

The physical therapists that are specially trained to work with stroke survivors’ whole goal is to help them regain the use of their stroke-impaired limbs. They also are trained to help teach compensatory strategies to reduce the effect of remaining deficits and to help establish ongoing exercise programs that will help them retain their newly learned skills.
The problem is that disabled individuals tend to avoid using their impaired limbs. This behavior is termed learned non-use. If they learn to repetitively use their impaired limbs, their brain plasticity is encouraged and this tends to reduce disabilities.
You can help encourage your clients to use their impaired limbs and backup the recommendations, strategies and actions of the physical therapists. Sometimes PTs include in their strategies that of sensory stimulation; tapping or stroking, active and passive range-of-motion exercises. They may even use temporary restraint of your client’s healthy limbs so that they practice motor tasks with their disabled limb. You can help your client practice this at home, too.
According to NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), in general, physical therapy emphasizes practicing isolated movements, repeatedly changing from one kind of movement to another, and rehearsing complex movements that require a great deal of coordination and balance, such as walking up or down stairs or moving safely between obstacles. People too weak to bear their own weight can still practice repetitive movements during hydrotherapy (in which water provides sensory stimulation as well as weight support) or while being partially supported by a harness. A recent trend in physical therapy emphasizes the effectiveness of engaging in goal-directed activities, such as playing games, to promote coordination. Physical therapists frequently employ selective sensory stimulation to encourage use of impaired limbs and to help survivors with neglect regain awareness of stimuli on the neglected side of the body.
By knowing what PTs do and knowing how to help, you are once again proving that With Age Comes Respect.


About melissalstoneburner

Melissa is the proud mother of two boys. She also like to take care of all of her elderly clients as though they were her actual flesh and blood, too. Melissa began her elderly care business, Time to Care, in August, 2012. Since then, she has successfully seen several clients through life and onto the next life. She writes about what she knows, what she doesn't know, and reveals all the research in between. She believes that elderly care is the best thing she has ever done in life; second only to being a mother!
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