top of page

How Physical Therapy helps in Brain Stroke

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Brain Stroke

Stroke is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage, and loss of function. Stroke has already reached epidemic proportions. Globally 1 in 4 adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. Current trends suggest that the number of annual deaths will climb to 6.7 million annually without appropriate action.

Recognizing when someone is having a stroke and getting immediate emergency medical care makes a big difference to survival and recovery. Act FAST!

The long-term problems due to Stroke include:

⦁ Inability or difficulty moving one side of the body (hemiparesis or hemiplegia)

⦁ Severely limited movement or stiffness in the arms and legs (spasticity)

⦁ Balance problems

⦁ Weakness on one side of the body

⦁ Deviation of face to one side

⦁ Loss or lack of sensation

⦁ Memory loss

⦁ Slowed or slurred speech

How Physical Therapy helps in brain stroke:

Stroke treatment varies from person to person. The treatment will depend on the results of your physical therapist's evaluation, and on how long it's been since you had your stroke. Recovery from a stroke depends on the size and location of the stroke, how quickly you received care and your other health conditions. Your physical therapist will help you restore your movement and walking ability, decrease your disability, and improve your quality of life.

Physical Therapy exercises give patients the power to reclaim lost abilities and get back to the life they had before the stroke. According to the American Heart Association, exercising after a stroke is a crucial way to improve the following:

⦁ Cardiovascular fitness

⦁ Walking ability

⦁ Muscle strength and flexibility

⦁ Mental health

⦁ Quality of life

Positioning: Lying on the unaffected side: Make sure you have a pillow underneath the person's head for support of the neck in a neutral position. The affected (left) shoulder should be protracted (pushed forward) with the elbow and wrist extended. The palm should be flat and if possible, facing upward. A pillow can be used under the unaffected (right) arm for support. A pillow should be placed behind the back to keep the person from rolling backward. The affected (left) leg should be slightly flexed (forward) at the hips and slightly flexed (bent) at the knee. The unaffected (right) leg should be placed well forward in flexion for the comfort of the person. A pillow should be placed under the unaffected leg for support and comfort

Weight-bearing: Upper extremity: Position yourself sitting with arms straight out beside you. Practice leaning to the side and putting weight through the arm. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 5 times on the affected side

Single leg balance with support:

Stand closely in front of a sturdy table or countertop for support. With your hands not quite touching, but ready to grab the table or countertop if needed, proceed to raise one leg in the air and maintain balance on your other leg. After about 5-10 seconds, lower your leg back down.

***If you start to lose your balance, play it safe, and grab your table/countertop to regain your balance.

Walking with Walker:

Take natural reciprocal steps with the walker. Your foot should land within the walker with each step. You can bear as much weight on your affected leg as you feel comfortable.

Walking with cane:

Unless told otherwise, use the cane on the side opposite your injured leg. Put all your weight on your uninjured leg. Get your balance. Move the cane and your injured leg forward.

Stroke Prevention:

Stroke is preventable. Up to 80% of strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Conditions that increase the risk for stroke are:

⦁ High Blood pressure

⦁ High cholesterol

⦁ Heart disease

⦁ Diabetes

Healthy Lifestyle choices: Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.

Healthy Weight

Obesity or being overweight increases your risk of stroke. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your body mass index (BMI). 

Physical Activity

Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week is recommended.

No Smoking

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke

Limited Alcohol

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure.



bottom of page