Recovery From a Stroke: 9 Benefits of Physical Therapy
Each year, nearly 800,000 people in the United States experience a stroke. A stroke is a brain injury that can lead to long-term disability. About two-thirds of stroke survivors will need some form of physical or other therapy.
During a stroke, blood flow to a part of the brain is disrupted. Damaged connections between the brain and body can lead to a loss of function. Stroke can impact different parts of the brain and cause problems, including:
- Paralysis on one or both sides of the body.
- Loss of feeling in the body parts involved.
- Muscle weakness.
- Balance and walking issues.
- Speech impairment.
- Difficulty with or inability to do certain movements.
- Difficulty with thinking, problem-solving, or emotions.
Physical therapists treat people with stroke and help them recover faster and stronger. Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement.
You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
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A stroke affects each person differently. Symptoms will depend on the size and location of the stroke. Your physical therapist will assess your symptoms and design a treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals. The long-term goal of physical therapy is to stimulate brain recovery and retrain muscles to move. It also can help survivors regain independence and the ability to do daily activities.
Nine Benefits of Physical Therapy for People With Stroke
A physical therapist can help you:
- Recover from brain damage and loss of muscle function.
- Stimulate damaged nerves and muscles.
- Reduce stiffness of and maintain circulation to affected muscles and nerves.
- Relearn movements and activities.
- Gain the most function and independence possible.
- Learn new ways to move due to any lingering side effects.
- Rebuild mobility and physical strength.
- Prevent muscle loss.
- Recover better and faster.
Physical therapists motivate and encourage their patients throughout their recovery. They help restore quality of life as quickly as possible.
To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
Find a PT near you!
Learn what to expect and how to how to prepare for your visit with a physical therapist.
Authored by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association and reviewed by Deborah S. Larsen, PT, PhD, on behalf of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy.