Other Treatments for Stroke
Treatment for the acute episode of a stroke is either medical or surgical, but medical therapies are much more common. Once the acute period is over and your condition has stabilized, the process of rehabilitation begins.
For Managing Speech Deficit
Your ability to speak or understand the spoken word may be affected by your stroke. Speech therapy will assist you in regaining this important ability. It may take considerable time and effort.
For Managing Gait Disturbance or Other Gross Motor Deficits
You may have trouble with walking, and perhaps even just sitting up may require extensive retraining of major muscle groups and coordination. You may need to use walking aids such as a cane or braces to compensate for weakened muscles. A physical therapist can teach you how to move about after a stroke that has caused leg or body weakness.
For Managing Finer Motor Deficits
Hands and arms may also suffer from a stroke. You may have to learn how to do things that you once felt were simple, such as writing or feeding yourself, all over again. Occupational therapists have a number of assistive devices to improve these functions when damaged by a stroke.
For Managing Dependency
For the first time in your adult life, you may have to depend on others to feed you, move you, dress you, get you to the bathroom, even just to stay alive. This is the most difficult aspect of stroke for most people.
In addition to family and friends, there are many professional caregivers with the skills to help you with your daily living activities. Your physician and other members of your health care team will connect you with the help you'll need.
Recovery may happen within days or it may take months. Along with your treatment team, set reasonable goals and determine to put out your best effort to achieve them.
Your improvement may continue for many months. As it does, your needs will change. Play an active part in deciding what is best for you at each stage. Be part of the treatment team.
When to Contact Your Health Care Provider
From the moment you arrive in the emergency room, you will be in constant touch with health care providers for the duration of your symptoms. They will give you a list of events that require you to contact them and an indication of how urgent each event is. At the top of the list will be any new or recurrent neurological symptoms. Once you have had a stroke, your chance of having another is much greater. As you improve, make sure your physician knows of your progress, so that treatment can be modified accordingly.
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Physical Therapy Association
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed. McGraw-Hill;1998.
National Stroke Association
Last reviewed November 2003 by Andrew Wilner, MD, FACP
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