Treatment of Stroke
Within three to six hours after a stroke, doctors can administer a tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), which dissolves the clots that are blocking blood flow to the brain. If sufficient blood flow is retained within three hours, the severity of stroke damage can be greatly reduced. This drug is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved (3, 23, 37).
Other stroke treatments include administration of anticoagulants, which stop the formation of blood clots or inhibit the growth of blood clots and antiplatelets. These treatments prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together and clotting (23, 37). Aspirin and ticlopidine are two medicitations used to prevent stroke by inhibiting platelets.(23).
There are three major goals of rehabilitation including: preventing effects of long-term physical inactivity, decreasing recurrent strokees, and increasing aerobic fitness (15).
The initial paralysis after stroke lasts a few days and then muslces begin to function again. An intial goal of physical therapy is to help clients achieve full range of motion for all their joints, which is done by stretching. There needs to be daily activity of the limbs to prevent the joints from becomming completely immobile (38). The most severe problem that can occur after a stoke is abnormal co-contraction of muscles. There will be no movement at a joint if, for example, the biceps and tricps are contracting together (37).
Until recently, stroke treatment has been comprised of bedrest, range of motion exercises and monitoring of swallowing (38, 41). There are also a variety of ways to help a patient achieve proper balance and coordination such as: proprioreceptive neuromuscular training, hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation, sensory integration therapy, and partial weight bearing. the patients are also taught functional activites such as getting in and out of bed, sitting balance, and tking steps forward as well as backward (21, 38).
Symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person and the main challenge in rehabiliation is to allow as much recovery as possible. There are many techniques in physical therapy that can increase one's independance and ability to adapt to life with paralysis (37).