What is Stroke? Prevention and Common Symptoms

Stroke is a sudden onset of neurologic signs and symptoms resulting from a disturbance of blood supply to the brain. The individual who sustains it may have temporary or permanent loss of function as a result of injury to the cerebral tissue.

Stroke is majorly ischemic and hemorrhagic in origin. Ischemic stroke being more common, affects about 80 per cent of those who suffer a stroke, and results when a clot or impaired blood flow deprives the brain of essential oxygen and nutrients.

Immediate Phase:

• Positioning plays an important role as correct positioning prevents shoulder pain, muscle tightness, pressure sores, and swelling of the extremities.

• Particular emphasis should be on prevention of subluxation and shoulder pain as it impedes further functional recovery of the patient.

• Breathing exercise to ensure adequate air entry and lung expansion. Chest clearance techniques should aim at clearing the lungs of secretions and preventing respiratory infections.

• Early mobilization, i.e., sitting or moving out of bed should be encouraged once the patient is medically stable.

What is Stroke

Common Stroke Symptoms:

Paralysis, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, trouble in walking, stumbling, sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision, headache, stiff neck, vomiting or altered consciousness are some common stroke symptoms.

For most stroke patients, rehabilitation mainly involves physiotherapy. The aim of physiotherapy is to let the stroke patient re-learn normal movements such as walking, sitting, standing, lying down, and transfer safely. Hence, they can move more normally with the use of both sides of the body rather than overusing the unaffected side.

Also Read: Is It Safe to Have Sex After a Heart Attack?

Long-Term Phase:

1. Stroke reduces a patient’s independence by leaving them unable to perform certain movements. For example, they may no longer be able to grasp things with hand, balance while standing, or walk without assistance.

So a strengthening programme with minimal movement and external stimulation, including electrical stimulation, should be given to those unable to move at all.

2. In the past, many training techniques have been developed for motor recovery and not one treatment has emerged as the standard technique, but all of them have 4 principles in common:

• The exercises are variants of the actual motor task to be improved, rather than targeting individual muscles, or overall fitness.

• The level of intensity of the exercise is pushed higher than what is expected from the patient.

• The exercise is repeated many times in a single session for adaptive response.

• The patient is given immediate feedback as to the level of performance of each repetition of the exercise.

Focus Areas:

• Upper limb and scapular region.

• Core.

• Pelvic region and lower limb.

• Balance and gait.

Upper Limb and Scapular Region:

• Shoulder depression and shrugs.

• Scapular squeezes and protraction.

• Rows.

• Lats pulldowns.

• Wand exercises with multi angle holds.


• Pelvic bridging.

• Single leg bridging with normal leg on top of the affected leg and with the affected leg on top of the normal leg.

• Sitting with legs unsupported and lifting alternate knees and lifting both knees in an oblique manner while letting the patient sit.

• Squat and reach to hold ball with rotations.

• Single leg abdominal press.

Pelvic and Lower Limb:

• Pelvic tilts and rotations.

• Weight shifts, side to side and forward and backward.

• Mini-squats.

• Lunges, alternating with affected leg and the unaffected leg.

• Leg press and leg curls.

• Sidekicks and back kicks, alternating with both legs.

• Heel raises and toe raises.

Balance and Gait:

• Forward stepping on a 6” stepper with normal leg and the affected leg.

• Side stepping on a 6” stepper with the normal leg and the affected leg.

• Weight shifts from side to side and forward and backward while sitting on a stable surface or ball.

• Gait training – focusing on equal weight shifting, heel-toe pattern and leg clearance with hip-knee-ankle bends.

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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