Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year.
That leaves many survivors with the tough task of relearning. They have to start parts of their life over as they work on walking, talking, and even processing and remembering as they once did. And, it leaves many family members and loved ones with the challenge of taking this journey with them.
The good news, though, is that there are many caring and capable people willing to help. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists all play an important role in the relearning process.
The damage suffered from a stroke can vary from patient to patient. Each stroke looks different based on how much damage occurred and what part of the brain was affected. Stroke survivors face a variety of problems including pain, numbness, or muscle weakness. These can lead to difficulties with sense of touch and difficulties with swallowing and eating. Problems with language and thinking are very common as well.
Therapy helps patients regain their independence and their ability to take care of themselves. Here are a few ways in which the individual therapies can help recovery after a stroke.
Stroke survivors may develop aphasia. They’ll have difficulty speaking, finding words, and understanding what others are saying. Speech therapists use repetition and reading and writing exercises to help survivors learn how to communicate.
Physical therapists help with any movement problems. They use exercises and activities to help survivors regain strength, coordination, balance, and control.
Occupational therapists help survivors relearn self-care skills. They focus on daily activities such as bathing, getting dresses, eating and cooking.
The biggest key to success: don’t give up hope! Recovery from stroke is often a long process. Some skills come back quickly and others take more hard work and more time. But, improvements and growth can come even years into the recovery process.