The CDC reports that about every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke. What exactly is a stroke? It’s the sudden disruption of blood flow to the brain via a rupture or blockage that impacts brain function.
Once a stroke affects the brain, speech, movement, emotional control, and cognitive skills can all be impacted. Typically, a stroke that occurs in the left side of the brain affects the right side of the body and vice versa.
After your dad’s stroke, it’s imperative that he starts work with a physical therapist ASAP. What will a physical therapist do to help him? Take a closer look at the benefits of physical therapy for a post-stroke recovery.
A physical therapist’s first goal is to help your dad build back up his strength. It’s very likely that he’ll need a walker or cane for several months, but he may require a wheelchair. Strengthening exercises offer the best chance of helping him become less dependent on mobility aids.
During the first appointment, his physical therapist will evaluate your dad and determine what damage was caused by the stroke. A treatment plan is developed to target the strengthening exercises that will help restore his muscles in the most effective manner.
Improve Range of Motion
After a stroke, your dad’s muscles will need strengthening, but he also needs to build back the range of motion he had. He can only do so much if a joint will only move a certain degree. Through stretches, massage, and other physical therapy steps, your dad’s range of motion improves, which helps with balance, mobility, and flexibility.
Make it Easier to Complete Some Daily Activities
As your dad wants to regain his independence as quickly as possible, his physical therapist will work on exercises and routines that help him regain the skills needed to complete activities of daily living with as little help as necessary.
Among those activities of daily living are simple tasks like getting out of bed, standing up and sitting down, walking from room to room, showering, getting dressed, and eating a meal or drinking a beverage. If he cannot do these on his own, he's going to need someone with him all hours of the day and night.
Your dad’s balance isn’t going to be the same as it was. He’ll be shaky, which is why he needs a walker or can while walking around. His physical therapist will work on balance skills with him. The last thing you want is for your dad to fall, and balance, strengthening, and range of motion lower the risk of a fall.
Any stroke rehabilitation will go smoothly with physical therapy. He’ll regain some level of mobility to ensure he’s able to live independently with just a bit of help every now and then.