Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Exercises for Initial Phase of Stroke

Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation exercises improves the recovery of function and mobility after a stroke.  Regular daily therapy is required to help the patient to RELEARN the muscle functions lost after a stroke.  Physiotherapists usually combine endurance and strength training into your rehabilitation program over the next few months after the stroke.  There is a short window of opportunity when the brain can rewire and relearn (known as neuroplasticity) how to use the muscles in the first 3-6 months.  That is why it very important to use this opportunity to work with your physiotherapists to get back on your feet.

Benefits of Regular Intensive Physiotherapy

  • Prevent your affected side from getting injured
  • Reduces long term dependency by regaining a large degree of function
  • Reduces muscle contracture, spasm or joint stiffness
  • Reduces re-admission to hospitals from health issues related to inactivity
  • Improves mental well-being and self-confidence

How to start the Rehabilitation Process?

After the doctors have stabilised the patient from the effects of the stroke and treated any risk factors causing the stroke, your physiotherapists should start the process of rehabilitation at regular intervals.  In the beginning, the focus of the exercises is to help the patient regain movement and relearn everyday activities such as

  • Getting out of bed
  • Sitting up comfortably
  • Stand without assistance
  • Walk without falling over
  • Correct positioning to prevent bed sores

As a caregiver, you can also help by performing some of these exercises at home with the patient to help improve recovery.  NICE guidelines recommend that a stroke patient gets a minimum of 45 minutes a day of physiotherapy exercises for at least 5 days a week.  You can divide the exercises into shorter periods (for example 15-20 minutes) but repeat these exercises several times a day so that the patient does not get too tired.

Upper Limb Weakness

Over 85% of stroke patients have some degree of upper limb weakness.  The goal of the upper limb exercises is to improve muscle strength, regain hand and fine finger movements and prevent muscle contracture.

Click view SingHealth video on Upper Limb Exercises

Lower Limb Weakness

Strokes affecting the lower limb usually results in which a leg which is weak, stretched out (extended), stiff and feels heavy.  The goal of the lower limb exercises is to encourage mobility and prevent stiffness.

Click view SingHealth video on Lower Limb Exercises

Physiotherapy centres are equipped with specialised equipment which can concentrate on specific muscle groups.  Rehabilitation should continue for as long as the person is showing measurable benefit from treatment to achieve the goals discussed with your doctor and physiotherapists.  If you have difficulty getting to a physiotherapy centre, you can always contact a physiotherapist to do home visits.

Discuss with your doctors or physiotherapists when you can start your rehabilitation program after your stroke

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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