What is a Stroke?    

A Stroke is a disruption to the blood supply in the brain.  The most common cause of Stroke is a blood clot or some fatty material blocking a blood vessel in the brain and starving it of blood and oxygen.  This is called an ischaemic Stroke.  Less common is a haemorrhagic Stroke, these are caused by a weak artery bursting and allowing blood to seep out into the brain tissue. A stroke in the left hand side of the brain will cause problems in the right hand side of the body and vice versa.  

 

How does a Stroke affect people?

A Stroke can affect people in many ways depending on where in the brain it occurs and how severe it is.  Some of the typical problems are:

•    Arm and leg weakness
•    Communication difficulties
•    Weakness in the muscles of the face
•    Cognitive problems such as reduced memory, attention, concentration

 

About half of Stroke survivors are left with significant disability which can affect balance, mobility, swallowing, talking, understanding speech, cognition and ability to do everyday tasks. Having specialist rehabilitation really does improve outcome after Stroke and minimise disability.  


Can people recover from Stroke?

The potential for recovery is dependent on many factors such as:

•    The area of the brain affected by the Stroke and the extent of the damage
•    Whether there are problems with communication or processing of information
•    Health and fitness levels before the stroke

 

Following an initial rapid phase of recovery there is potential to continue to recover for many years.  People are often told that there is a limited recovery window after a Stroke, this is not entirely true.  Recent developments in neuroscience have shown that the brain is more ‘plastic’ than previously thought – it has much more capacity to change and previously unused circuits can used so that new connections are formed.  This means that with specifically targeted treatment some of the movement can be recovered.  Specialist physiotherapy can help the brain to reorganise itself.
Sometimes people get stiffer or less mobile over time, treatment or exercise to maintain abilities and movement can be helpful if this happens.  

 

How can a neurological physiotherapist help after Stroke?

•    Re-educate normal movement and walking patterns
•    Improve balance and prevent falls
•    Improve arm function, including co-ordination and dexterity
•    Reduce spasticity (stiff, high toned muscles)
•    Problem solve difficulties with day-to-day tasks
•    Exercise programmes for fitness and strengthening
•    Teach carers about the best way to move and handle you
•    Advice and support
•    Referral to other professionals

 

Neurological physiotherapists have specialised training and experience in treating people with neurological problems such as stroke.  Their treatment is specifically targeted to stimulate the nervous system to reorganise itself in a way that restores movement and function or minimises the impact of a stroke on the body.


I have had many years of experience in stroke and it is my main area of expertise.  I can successfully treat people in the early stages after a stroke right up to the late stages of recovery and into maintenance.  I understand the impact that a stroke can have on a person and those around them.  I work with my clients to restore as much independence as possible whether their goal is to roll in bed on their own or to walk outdoors in the countryside.  I can also teach carers the best way to help people following Stroke to promote independence and normal movement patterns. 

 

There is hope after a Stroke and sometimes it takes time for the body, brain and person to reach a stage where they are really ready for rehab.

 

If you would like to know more, or think that I might be able to help you or a relative with any neurological condition please get in touch.