Physiotherapy for Stroke Paralysis

When the brain cells are deprived of oxygen supply, they start to die within minutes, eventually causing the condition called Stroke. This may be aIshchemic Stroke caused due to blocked artery or haemorrhagic Stroked caused due to ruptured blood vessels. Being the leading cause of Paralysis, the Stroke affects 33.7% people, followed by 27.3% with spinal cord injury, 18.6% and 8.3% for multiple sclerosis & cerebral palsy respectively.

Paralysis is commonly referred as the paralysis of left or right of the body, having medical names like Monoplegia (affecting one limb); Hemiplegia (affecting one hand & leg of one side); Diplegia (affecting either both arms or legs); Paraplegia (affecting  both legs); Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia (affecting both arms & legs and sometimes even entire body neck down). If temporal lobe of brain is involved, then it affects the speech also.

Post-stroke conditions that require professional physiotherapy are:

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in treating the following post-stroke conditions:

  1. Paralytic weakness causing loss of movement or motor skills.
  2. Inability to walk properly due to loss or balance/ coordination.
  3. Conditions like numbness, or loss of sensation to pins, needles or tingling.
  4. Impairment of visual field and perception of space due to loss ofvisuo-spatial awareness.
  5. Involuntary contraction of muscles in arms or legs or Spasticity.


When the Physiotherapy Rehabilitation should commence?

As soon as the patients conditions start getting stabilized, the physiotherapy can commence by professional physiotherapists in consultation with doctors, nurses, speech therapists and occupational therapists to understand the rehabilitation potential of the patient. Sometimes physiotherapy treatment is also required at home after discharging from the hospital for six months or a year, depending on the condition.

Treatments offered for Physiotherapy Rehabilitation

Series of tests are conducted such as Basic Cognitive Test, Range of Motions in Limbs, Sensation, Coordination, Strength etc. understand baseline functioning, basis which suitable treatment is planned.

Various treatments approachfor motor function recovery are:

  1. Motor relearning involving relearning lost skills through practice/ training.
  2. Task-oriented approach involving improvement of extremity motor abilities such as hand, arm, shoulder or upper limb.
  3. Neurodevelopmental approach involving problem-solving method promoting motor learning and motor control in various environments
  4. Biofeedback involving visual feedback to move an impaired limb like training stroke survivors to relax their fingers by wide opening their hands..
  5. Constraint-induced movement therapy – using different types of restraints such as a sling or hand splint to improve upper extremity functions
  6. Electric stimulators that involves rewiring of brain restore some form of dexterity
  7. Robotics involving robots to assist/ support in walking
  8. Compensatory approach that involves support aids.