What is a Stroke and Why is Neurophysiotherapy Important for Stroke Rehabilitation?
Firstly, let's discuss what a Stroke actually is.
What is a Stroke?
A Stroke happens when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted, which causes the brain cells to start to die. A Stroke can cause serious symptoms, lasting disability, and even death. A Stroke is a type of acquired brain injury also called a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA). The term cerebrovascular accident describes a Stoke quite well if we deconstruct this term. ‘Cerebro’ (cerebrum) relates to the brain, ‘vascular’ relates to blood vessels, and well unfortunately we all know what an accident is... So a Stroke, or a Cerebrovascular Accident describes an accident or injury to the brain caused by a blood vessel issue.
Our brains coordinate and control important daily functions such as:
Movement, sensation, balance, muscle tone and our coordination,
Planning, understanding, intellect and emotion
Hearing, seeing, tasting and smelling
Speaking and eating and so much more.
In a nutshell the brain controls everything that our bodies do every day, so when a person has a stroke - given that a Stroke is a Cerebrovascular Accident - many of these functions controlled by our brain can be negatively affected.
Did You Know That There Are Three Types of Stroke?
There are three main types of Stroke:
Transient Ischemic Attack
Ischaemic Strokes are the most common. An Ischaemic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel is blocked (ie: by a blood clot) causing decreased blood flow to the brain.
A Transient Ischemic Attack is also known as a 'warning Stroke' or 'mini-Stroke' and is classified as anything that temporarily blocks blood flow to your brain (ie: a blood clot). The symptoms may only last for a short period of time.
A Haemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, breaks or leaks blood into surrounding brain tissues, causing decreased blood flow to the brain.
Rehabilitation and Treatment for Stroke
The 'Australian Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management' highlight that it is vitally important that therapy ('out of bed activity') 'should commence within 48 hours of stroke onset unless otherwise contraindicated' and that 'rehabilitation should be structured to provide as much scheduled therapy (occupational therapy and physiotherapy) as possible.' Source: Stroke Foundation Australia.
A number of health professionals may be involved in a person's rehabilitation after a stroke. This may also include support for family members who are involved in the Stroke victim's care. An important member of a Stroke victim's care team are Neurological Physiotherapists.
How Can a Neurological Physiotherapist Help After a Stroke?
Firstly, let's explain the role of Physiotherapists (or "Physios"). Physiotherapists are health professionals who work with people of all ages to improve a person's physical function for day to day life, to rehabilitate injuries, reduce pain and to improve overall quality of life through physical movement.
Neurophysiotherapy is physiotherapy performed by Neurological Physiotherapists who are specially trained to diagnose and treat people with movement and function disorders that have originated from problems within the body's nervous and neuromuscular system. These disorders affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Please read our blog titled 'What is Neurological physiotherapy? What is Neuro Physio?' if you would like to learn more.
A Neurological Physiotherapist is a specially trained Physiotherapist who has a high level of understanding of your condition and the functions that may be affected after a Stroke. A Neuro Physio will work with you, your family and your support workers to improve your movement, muscle tone, coordination and balance - and help you achieve your goals with a tailored Physiotherapy Treatment Plan specifically relevant to how your Stroke affected you. A Neuro Physio can also greatly assist with pain management which is often experienced after a Stroke.
A Neuro Physio is experienced in working with Neurological disabilities and knows how to help you rehabilitate and work towards your goals safely.
Personalised Treatment Aligned to Achieving Your Goals
If you or someone you love has had a stroke and you are considering getting physiotherapy, it is vitally important to ensure that you engage a Neurological Physiotherapist to support effective rehabilitation. A good Neuro Physio will take the time to understand your goals and what you'd like to achieve and integrate this into a personalised physiotherapy rehabilitation Treatment Plan.
After a Stroke, your goals might include anything from being able to sit independently and safely in a chair, being able to bathe yourself, feed yourself or even being able to walk or run again!
Body Agility Can Help You
Body Agility are nationally registered NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) providers of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and personal training. Experience the Body Agility difference and experience exceptional care and customer service. We take the time to understand your NDIS Goals, to fully understand your condition, and to create a tailored Treatment Plan to help you achieve your goals.
What are YOUR goals? We can help. Contact us now, we have capacity to provide services to you immediately, right across the broader Perth region with home visits, or at one of our clinics / gyms or studio - or via video consultation (telehealth). We'd be delighted to hear from you.
Nina Barker is Body Agility's Senior Physiotherapist, who is a Neurological Physiotherapist. Nina is a highly qualified and experienced Physiotherapist who possesses qualifications in neuroscience, psychology and physiotherapy and is also endorsed for neurorehabilitation. Book an appointment with Nina here.