Stroke or CVA (cerebrovascular accident) is an affliction that is as individual as a snow flake. No two are the same. I have extensive experience in working with patients who suffered a stroke. The symptoms vary from minor speech difficulty to complete inability to move, comprehend, or communicate with others. Typically, the most improvement of physical function happens within the first year, however it is important to note, that statistics do not apply equally to all. Some patients continue to improve years later.

Stroke occurs in two ways;

Ischemic - ischemic brain imagewhere part of the brain is deprived from blood supply through an arterial blood clot therefore starving that part of brain of vital oxygen supply. Figure 1 - blood vessel enters the brain "A", point "B" where blood clot blocked the blood passage, "C" depicts the affected brain area. Point "D" shows an artery dividing and the clot blocking the blood flow.

Hemorrhagic - where an artery bursts and spills the blood somewhere in the brain. Figure 2 below - "A" is blood vessel entering the brain, Point "B" is where blood vessel wall burst open, "C" depicts damaged brain area. "D" depicts bursted artery. Our blood is vital to cell survival but it needs to be contained within its blood vessels. Blood is, however, deadly to brain cells if it comes physically in contact. hemorrhagic damage brain image It is virtually impossible to advise, over the phone or by e-mails, how to help or treat someone with a stroke. The help truly requires one to one involvement. This situation allows the therapist and the patient to get to know, and, most importantly, trust each other.

I strongly recommend patients take advantage of the maximum stay at an inpatient rehabilitation centers as they provide at least 2 to 4 hours of daily physical/occupational therapy. The home care services, that follow the inpatient physical therapy, are limited to one hour visits and to a maximum of 3 sessions per week. Those services may also stop after a few weeks, or at most, a few months. Then the patient is entitled to treatment at an outpatient physical therapy office.