Many people think brain damage caused by a stroke is irreversible, but there are a few different approaches to helping the brain heal from a stroke. Stroke rehabilitation takes time, and its success depends on a variety of factors. Still, there are steps you can take to return to normal life and regain independence in the wake of a stroke.
What Happens During a Stroke
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is cut off, keeping it from getting oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function properly. When this happens, the person having a stroke may experience numbness in their limbs, inability to see or speak, loss of hand functions and trouble walking.
A stroke is a medical emergency, so if you see someone experiencing symptoms, help them get medical care right away. The sooner they get to a hospital, the more likely doctors can hinder brain damage.
As soon as a stroke patient arrives at the hospital, the doctor will take steps to stabilize their condition and control any life-threatening issues. Doctors will restore normal blood flow to the brain using surgery or medication. Once the patient is stable and there is no risk of another stroke, the patient can begin rehabilitation.
A stroke rehabilitation plan will take gradual steps to restore the patient’s mental and physical abilities. Rehabilitation typically begins within 24-48 hours of the stroke while the patient is still at the hospital.
People can have a range of disabilities following a stroke, including weakness, loss of coordination and sensation, problems with speaking or understanding speech, difficulty walking, or visual impairment, Dysphagia (aspiration, difficulty swallowing). The aftereffects of a stroke vary on its severity and the affected areas of the brain.
A combination of different therapies may be used to help patients recover from these different problems:
Doctors may prescribe physiotherapy as part of the recovery process for patients who have lost physical functionality. This can involve exercises for small muscles, such as those used in swallowing and hand functions, or large scale exercises like those to help restore walking abilities.
Stretching and mobility training can help patients learn to use and regain range of motion in their limbs. It can also help patients learn to use mobility aids like a tripod cane or wheelchair.
Some physical recovery treatments will use various technologies to assist with recovery. This could involve functional electrical stimulation and magnetic stimulation, where an electric current helps weakened muscles contract and relearn certain movements. Sometimes robotic devices or virtual reality technology can also be used to help patients regain their strength and movement abilities.
Cognitive and Emotional Recovery
To recover from cognitive impairments, like problems with speech, memory, problem-solving, social skills, or logical thinking, doctors may prescribe working with an occupational therapist and speech therapist. An occupational therapist will guide the patient through a variety of activities that help them gradually regain cognitive abilities and communication skills.
Many patients dealing with the aftermath of a stroke will also visit a psychologist as part of their recovery plan to help them process different emotions that arise from such a traumatic loss of ability. This part of the recovery plan could include individual counseling or group therapy.
Helping A Loved One Through Recovery
A stroke is not only stressful for the patient but also for their loved ones. It is important to know how to care for them after the stroke and help them move through the recovery process as smoothly as possible.
Every stroke looks different, so the needs of your loved one will be unique to their situation. Paying close attention to the doctors’ advice and understanding as much as you can about your loved one’s condition and recovery process from early on will help you to assist them properly.
Learn to Communicate
Another challenge caretakers face after a loved one has a stroke is communicating with them. Their speech and physical abilities may be affected, so it’s important to establish new methods of communication if needed. Your doctor will be able to offer recommendations on how to start building new communication habits and ensure that you can understand your loved one’s needs.
Offer Emotional Support
Offering emotional support is essential for patient recovery. People can feel embarrassed about losing their independence, so let them know that it is okay and you will get through rehabilitation together. Let them know that they are not alone and reassure them that you are happy to help them through the process.
Caring for a loved one after a stroke can be stressful, so pay attention to your own mental health as well. Throughout the recovery process, remember to take the time you need to process emotions. If you aren’t the main caretaker, offer emotional support to the primary caretaker, who could be feeling frustrated and lonely.
Get The Care You Need
When recovering from a stroke, it is important to get quality care and ensure that you have the best chance to restore your mental and physical functioning. The experts at Vejthani Hospital provide the expertise and understanding to help you on your road to recovery. Visit the Vejthani Hospital website to learn about the best stroke rehabilitation in Thailand.