Stroke can strike at any age. But what is stroke? Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. The area of dead cells in tissues is called an infarct. Because of both the physical and chemical changes that occur in the brain with stroke, damage can continue to occur for several days. This is called a stroke-in-evolution.
A loss of brain function occurs with brain cell death. This may include impaired ability with movement, speech, thinking and memory, bowel and bladder, eating, emotional control, and other vital body functions. Recovery from stroke and the specific ability affected depends on the size and location of the stroke. Therapy after a stroke is critical to a successful recovery.
Getting Your Life Back After a Stroke
Many patients need to retrain their muscles after a stroke. The physical therapy staff at Methodist Therapy begins this process with an evaluation and a personalized treatment plan. Exercises may not only help strengthen and re-educate your weakened muscles, but also stretch tight muscles, increase your range of motion, improve balance for sitting, standing and walking, and help you become more mobile.
Occupational therapy often enables patients to relearn many of the skills needed for daily living. If your dominant right hand was damaged by a stroke, for example, you may learn to use your left hand for eating, getting dressing, cooking, and performing other daily tasks. Splints and adaptive equipment may also be recommended.
Speech therapy helps many patients improve their spoken and written language skills. You may perform oral-motor exercises to strengthen weak muscles, work on swallowing, and make changes in your diet so that you can eat more safely. Some people also need voice therapy to increase vocal loudness.
Methodist Therapy is a service of Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge. A doctor’s referral for services is required and most insurance, including Medicare, is accepted. For more information, click here or call (865) 835-3370.