3 Benefits Of Short-Term Rehab After A Stroke

Strokes can leave a person completely disabled, or simply left with only minor residual deficits. In some cases, these deficits can be practically eliminated with the help of short term rehabilitation. Also known as a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, a stroke may be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Here are three benefits of short-term rehabilitation treatment and why they can help you heal from the effects of your stroke.

1. Speech And Swallowing Improvements

Your pattern of speech and ability to swallow may be impaired as a result of a stroke. If you experience trouble speaking or if you are unable to swallow, your doctor may recommend that you enroll in a rehab program that includes speech therapy.

Your therapy may include an evaluation of your ability to swallow liquids. Stroke patients often have difficulty swallowing thin liquids; however, they are usually able to swallow thick liquids such as milkshakes. The speech therapist will teach you how to perform certain exercises that will help improve your swallowing ability while enhancing your pattern of speech. 

2. Enhanced Upper Body Strength

Strokes can cause diminished upper body strength, leaving you unable to grasp and manage your upper body hygiene needs. Occupational therapy is designed to help stroke patients regain strength in their hands and arms so that they can wash themselves, comb their hair, and brush their teeth.

If you have upper body weakness as a result of a stroke and are unable to grasp eating utensils, the occupational therapist will provide you with special spoons, forks, and knives, that have built up, or thick handles. This will make holding the utensils easier so that you can feed yourself without assistance. 

3. Decreased Leg Weakness

Leg weakness, or even complete paralysis of the legs, is another common effect of a stroke. Physical therapy will help you regain strength in your legs so that you have better balance and mobility. Your physical therapy may include stair climbing, performing leg lifts, exercising on a recumbent stationary bicycle, and gait training exercises.

You may feel insecure or unsteady on your feet during your gait training exercises, but you do not need to fear this, because your physical therapist will put a gait belt around your waist. A gait belt allows the therapist to hold on to you while you're walking so that you feel more secure and less likely to lose your balance. 

If you have had a stroke, talk to your physician to determine if you are a good candidate for short-term rehabilitation. The sooner speech therapy, occupational rehab, and physical rehabilitation programs are implemented, the more likely you will be to enjoy better mobility, strength, and optimal swallowing ability.