Learning how to treat post stroke symptoms requires that you understand a multitude of topics. Luckily, we’re here to make it simple.
In this article, you’ll learn about the most common post stroke symptoms and how to treat each one.
Then, you’ll learn the underlying cause beneath all of these symptoms so that you can understand how to treat the root cause, not just the symptom.
Although we’ve done our best to simplify things, this will be a long, intensive read. So bookmark this page and let’s dig in.
How to Treat Post Stroke Symptoms
Below you will find a list of the 10 most common post stroke symptoms and guides on how to treat each one.
Spasticity is characterized by stiff, tight muscles after stroke.
Spasticity occurs because your brain and your muscles cannot communicate properly, and so your muscles tense up to protect themselves. The remedy is to improve your brain-muscle communication, which is explained in the following guide.
2. Foot Drop
Having trouble lifting the front part of your foot after stroke is a condition known as foot drop. While you can temporarily treat this symptom with an AFO (foot brace), it’s best treated through foot drop exercises that help relink your mind to your muscles.
3. Curled Toes
When your toes curl up after stroke, it’s the result of spasticity in your feet and toes. Temporary treatment includes AFOs that insert into your shoe to help keep your toes aligned. Permanent treatment includes TENS therapy and rehab exercises.
4. Tiredness, Sleepiness, Fatigue
If you’ve been craving naps often ever since your stroke, then rest assured that it’s perfectly normal.
During stroke recovery, your brain is rapidly trying to heal itself, and this process takes up a lot of energy. If you crave sleep, then let yourself sleep. It gives your brain quality time to heal.
5. Swallowing Problems
Sometimes stroke impairs your ability to control your swallowing muscles, especially if you suffered a brain stem stroke. The best treatment for this involves working with a speech-language pathologist who can help you regain the ability to swallow and use the muscles in your mouth.
6. Balance Problems
Balance issues are common for stroke survivors since stroke typically affects one side of the body. And if you also lost control of your core and leg muscles, this can throw off your balance even more.
The best treatment is to regain control of your muscles through rehab exercise. In the meantime, you may greatly benefit from the use of a walker, cane, or other equipment that your occupational therapist recommends.
7. One-Sided Neglect
Some stroke survivors have difficulty noticing things in their environment on their affected side. This is an attention problem known as one-sided neglect that can be remedied by relearning how to pay attention to your affected side.
8. Emotional Changes
Sometimes stroke affects the emotion center of the brain and leads to a condition known as emotional lability (or pseudobulbar affect) that causes uncontrollable emotions, like random outbursts of crying or laughter.
Other times, the dramatic life changes associated with stroke can cause emotional changes like depression or anxiety.
9. Aphasia (Difficulty of Speech)
When stroke affects the language center of your brain (left-brain stroke), it can result in aphasia, a condition that causes language difficulties. The best treatment is to work with a speech-language pathologist to relearn how to speak, communicate, and understand language.
Guide: How to Treat Aphasia
10. Impaired Vision
When stroke affects your occipital lobes (the part of your brain responsible for vision), then vision problems can occur. The best treatment is eye exercises and vision therapy.
To Heal All These Symptoms, You Really Just Need One Thing
There’s a common thread within each treatment option for these post stroke symptoms: practice. In order to recover from stroke, you must practice the things you want to get better at.
Practice is critical during stroke recovery because it activates neuroplasticity, the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself.
Neuroplasticity is how your brain will recover from the damage of stroke, so it’s very important to know how to activate it.
The Best Way to Treat Post Stroke Symptoms
In order to activate neuroplasticity, you must repetitively practice whatever you want to get better at.
Each time you repeat something, specific neurons must work together. The more these neurons work together, the stronger their connections become, and the stronger your skills become.
This is why your therapist sends you home with homework to practice rehab exercises. They know that repetition is what will make you better.
So whether you’re repeating arm exercises (for physical therapy) or tongue exercises (for speech therapy), repetition is what matters most.
Now, not all stroke treatments involve repetition. Just a vast majority of them do.
Post stroke symptoms like seizures and headaches cannot be treated with repetition. Rather, they’re best treated with medication and medical attention.
But these are just the exceptions.
Overall, the majority of post stroke symptoms can be improved through hard work and repetitive practice. Your brain will start to heal and rewire itself as you begin to practice the skills you want to get better at.
In time, your brain’s circuitry will start to reshape itself and you will become stronger and stronger.
How to Get 12x More Repetition
Because repetition and neuroplasticity are crucial to your recovery, we designed a device that can help you achieve 12 times more repetition than traditional therapy.
The device is called FitMi, and patients have been loving it because of the fast results they see. One patient even saw improvement after just three days of use!