An important determinant for which stroke exercises to do depends on which area of the brain has been affected by the stroke. A stroke occurs when oxygen carried in the blood is gradually or suddenly stopped. It is also referred to as a cerebrovascular accident or CVA. The symptoms experienced after a stroke depend on the severity of the injury, which can be related to the size of the affected brain area. Other factors that determine the symptoms a person may have following a stroke are the side of the brain and region of the brain that was affected.
An important part of the rehabilitation process are the stroke exercises. The newest research findings in science about the brain and stroke recovery show a process that has been termed ‘neuroplasticity’. This word is made up of the word neurology which means brain and nervous system and plastic which in this regards means not hard or rigid but soft and malleable. What this discovery says is that the brain is a plastic organ which can change and adapt or mold it’s physical connections. This finding explains what has been happening for decades with stroke recovery, people changing and improving their brains. This article will touch upon three areas of stroke exercises that are the cognitive exercises, motor exercises and sensory exercises.
Exercises that focus on cognition can be anything to do with processing thought. Any function that occurs in your brain, like adding up a mathematics equation. Classically for people who have suffered a stroke on the left side of their brain they may experience problems with language called aphasia. This can be problems with understanding speech or expressing speech. These issues occur despite normal hearing and normal movement of speech producing parts of the face. Cognition exercises would focus on the thinking aspects of recovery and work on helping problems like the language related aphasia.
A frequent aspect of stroke recovery is motor rehabilitation. Motor with respect to the brain refers to the movement of the body and it’s limbs. Post stroke people may have difficulty with movement due to a flaccid limb or poor muscle tone or they may have rigidity due to spasticity. Both result in poverty or lack of movement and restoring co-ordination and movement is essential. The quality of life of a stroke survivor can be greatly enhanced by restoring the ability to perform everyday tasks such as clothing oneself, walking, getting up from a seated position and feeding.
Sensory disturbances may affect areas of the skin or the bodies ability to feel things. The area may feel numb or become unable to discriminate between hot and cold objects or sharp or dull objects. There may be just reduced feeling in the area where some feeling may be present but the level of sensitivity is very poor. The movement of limbs can be affected by these sensory problems because it can be difficult to move something you can not feel.
The need for specific stroke exercises to help a patient with their recovery and rehabilitation is very important. These exercises should target the symptoms that the stroke survivor is having and address the areas of the brain affected. A more tailored approach can help ensure the most recovery and speed up the process.