What is a stroke?
A stroke is an injury to the brain which occurs when part of the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, causing damage and then death to that part of the brain if oxygen supply isn’t restored quickly enough. There are 2 main reasons why the blood flow may be affected to the brain:
1. There is a blockage in one of the arteries in the brain, stopping the blood flow from getting through.
2. There is a ruptured blood vessel and so blood is going everywhere and not going through the vessels to its target, where the oxygen is needed. This can happen after a head knock or some kind of trauma, or a weak blood vessel can burst, called an artery vascular malformation.
Symptoms of a Stroke
If you suspect you are having a stroke it is important to act fast, as the amount of damage caused by the stroke can be reduced with early intervention. Remember to act FAST if you’re having the symptoms of a stroke:
F: Face– can you smile normally, is one side of your face drooping?
A: Arms – can you lift both arms above your head easily?
S: Speech – are you having any difficulty speaking?
T: Time – call an ambulance immediately, early intervention saves lives and promotes better recovery.
What area of the body does stroke affect?
As stroke’s can affect any part of the brain they can affect any part of the body, as well as any of your mental areas such as language, memory or problem-solving. Everyone’s brain is different, and so everyone’s stroke will present differently in their severity and the areas affected. Strokes in the cerebral part of your brain will affect one side of your body, impacting your ability to sit, stand, walk, or pick up objects. They can also affect your ability to talk, understand language, complete complex tasks, change how you process and express emotions, and every aspect of your thinking and memory. The cerebellum is responsible for coordination and balance, and strokes to this part of the brain make automatic sequences such as walking difficult to coordinate.
The risk factors for stroke include:
-High blood pressure
-Being overweight or obese
-Type 2 Diabetes
-Lack of physical activity
How does physiotherapy help with stroke patients?
After you have had a stroke, physiotherapy can help you recover to maximise your physical function and quality of life. Physiotherapists are highly trained to assess and treat all the different impairments that may result from a stroke. There is lots of evidence to support early intervention and ongoing treatment from physiotherapy to continue to maximise physical function, such as return to walking, and reducing the risk of future strokes.
How long is the recovery after a stroke and why is it important to treat it early?
Most people will not regain their full pre-stroke function after a stroke, depending upon the severity and type of stroke they had, so it is important to treat it early to maximise the amount of recovery possible. Most people will improve significantly in the immediate weeks in hospital following their stroke, but can continue to improve their function in the years following the event. Physiotherapy can help guide you through the recovery process, to make you stronger and help you achieve your goals.
About Maddy Keryk & Primal Physiotherapy
Maddy completed her Doctorate of Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne. When she’s not in the clinic, Maddy is a professional AFLW player for the Geelong Cats. Maddy enjoys implementing her knowledge as an athlete for holistic strength and rehabilitation. Being involved in sports her whole life Madyy understands the value of investing in her health.
Maddy is a Physiotherapist at Primal Physiotherapy which is a leading Physiotherapy clinic with state of the art rehab facility to help their clients return back to life, work, and exercise pain-free.