What therapy is part of stroke rehabilitation?

Several types of therapy begin after a stroke occurs.

After someone suffers a stroke, a long road to recovery awaits. That journey includes several rounds of therapy.

"There are multiple different kinds of therapy," says Marty Walsh, physical therapist at Mercy Medical Center. "They are all kinda related and overlapping, but multiple types of therapies can help a person recover from a stroke."

Physical therapy focuses on mobility and balance. Occupational therapy focuses on fine motor control, which relates to activities of daily living. Speech therapy focuses on gaining back communication.

These therapies start as soon as possible.

"So really the first priority is obviously to make sure they live and that they are medically stable to participate in therapy," says Walsh. "And then as they get medically cleared, we will start sitting them up at the edge of the bed, seeing how their balance is, we will start standing them. We get them as mobile as they can be to get them as close to their previous level of function."

With rehabilitation of any kind, impatience or frustration develop.

"This is a slow process," says Robyn Mellang, occupational therapist at Mercy Medical Center. "It's going to take some time. We've got to re-teach the brain how to do everything they need to do."

Therapists can use cool, new tools, like plastic vibrating disks to aid in rehabilitation.

"The screen is going to tell you what you are doing," says Mellang. "Are you pronating or supenating that arm? Are you turning it enough. You'll hear a little beep if you are, and it will say, one more time, you did it."

Their goal, however, is clear.

"Our goal is to make sure they can do what they want to do when they get home," says Mellang.

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