What is a stroke?
A stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) results from an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain. This can be caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel. Without a rich blood supply and oxygen, the brain cells can become irreversibly damaged.
Although brain cells are unable to recover from the damage caused by a stroke, areas of the brain are able to adapt to learn new tasks and compensate for the area that has been damaged.
There are two main types of stroke, ischemic and haemorrhagic:
About 80% of strokes are ischemic and result from a clot or blockage forming in the blood vessel, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain cells. The clot can occur at the site of the blockage, or it can travel from other blood vessels in the body and become lodged in the arteries that supply the brain.
These result from blood vessels in and around the brain rupturing and causing bleeding in the surrounding areas. This causes a build up of pressure which damages the delicate tissues. The disruption of the blood supply also results in the cells in the surrounding areas being starved of oxygen.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA)
These are often known as mini strokes. These are brief episodes where some brain function is temporarily lost due to short disruption of the blood supply. Symptoms, such as limb weakness, last less than 24 hours as the cells in the brain have not been permanently damaged.
Treatments for Stroke
A variety of services to treat and rehab strokes is available:
Through a variety of treatment techniques, our specialised physiotherapists aim to:
- Increase muscle strength through strengthening and mobilisation exercises
- Improve balance and mobility through assessment of different mobility aids and postural re-education
- Reduce muscle stiffness, spasms and pain through stretching programmes
- Reduce the risk of falls through balance work, gait re-education and training
- Increase functional activity of the affected arm and leg through home exercise programmes
- Help reduce foot drop through Functional Flectrical Stimulation (FES) and various orthotics
- Increase function, independence and quality of life
- Combine stretching, aerobic exercise, strengthening and relaxation techniques through exercise classes
Our specialist OT’s aim to improve areas of personal care, work or leisure that are becoming difficult. This can be achieved through:
- Functional activities independently or in groups
- Assessment of function in your own environment and establish any needs for equipment, adaptations, or further rehabilitation
- Hand therapy including splinting and exercise programmes
- Assessment and treatment of cognitive deficits
- Aiding perception and problem-solving difficulties
Speech and Language Therapy:
Communication and swallowing are a key part of life and if you're experiencing difficulty it may be having a huge impact on your quality of life. Our specialist speech and language therapist may be able to help you through:
- Guidance on feeding and swallowing to avoid choking
- Training for family and carers on how to communicate with someone with dysphasia
- Strengthening muscles of the face and mouth to improve speech
- Advice on communication aids
- Treatment at the centre or in your own home
Our clinical neuropsychologists can help to provide:
- Detailed assessment of a clients’ functioning in particular their cognition, behaviour and emotional state
- Providing advice, consultation, teaching and supervision to other professionals as well as family and carers
Following a stroke our specialist orthotist, working with the team can help by designing and fitting orthoses to best compliment your treatment and rehabilitation. These include:
- Orthotics to prevent foot drop and aid walking
- Insoles to improve alignment, proprioception and gait
- Alteration to shoes to assist with leg length discrepancies, alignment and improve mobility
Read more stories about some of our stroke survivors:
- Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland
- The Stroke Association
- Different Strokes
- National CPR Association - Stroke Information and Resource Guide (from an American site but useful generic information)