Stroke treatment should happen immediately after stroke.
When care is administered quickly, it improves the chances of survival and minimizes possible stroke side effects.
In this article, we will briefly discuss the types of treatment that occur in the hospital immediately after stroke.
The side effects of stroke, however, are much more complicated to treat. So we will spend the rest of this article explaining how to treat stroke side effects too.
How Is Stroke Treated?
Stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is cut off either by a clogged artery (ischemic stroke) or burst artery (hemorrhagic stroke).
For ischemic stroke, drugs like aspirin or TPA are administered as soon as possible to help dissolve the clot in the brain.
For hemorrhagic strokes, surgery is often used to help stop the bleeding in the brain through a number of different methods like clamping the burst artery.
Overall, the goal of stroke treatment immediately after stroke is to restore normal blood flow in the brain. But treatment doesn’t stop there.
Unfortunately, no matter how quickly treatment is administered, the lack of oxygen-rich blood in the affected part of the brain will cause brain damage.
This brain damage creates stroke side effects, and those need to be treated too.
What Kind of Side Effects Occur?
Each part of your brain controls different functions, so your stroke side effects will correlate with the part of your brain that was affected.
But if you had a right-brain stroke, then your language might be unaffected. Instead, you struggle with emotional outbursts (a condition known as emotional lability) because emotions are a right-brain function.
Other examples of the various stroke side effects that can occur include:
- Impaired mobility
- Impaired speech (aphasia)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Difficulty paying attention to the affected side of the body (one-sided neglect)
- Stiff, tight muscles (spasticity)
The side effects that you experience will depend on the severity of your stroke and where your stroke occurred.
That’s where the saying “every stroke is different and therefore every recovery is different” comes from.
We highly recommend talking to your neurologist to determine what area of your brain was affected.
How Can You Cure Stroke Side Effects?
The reality of stroke is often disheartening, but here’s the good news: All stroke side effects are treatable through the magic of neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity should be regarded as the biggest source of hope for all stroke survivors.
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism that allows your brain to rewire itself and restore lost function after injury.
While it’s impossible to revive dead brain cells, you have an abundance of unused brain cells that can be trained to pick up the slack.
For example, if you have impaired movement on the left side of your body after stroke, then the motor cortex of your brain was likely damaged by stroke.
In order to restore movement in your left side, you can activate neuroplasticity and rewire new parts of your brain to control movement.
Now, how can neuroplasticity be activated?
The #1 Treatment for Stroke Side Effects
Neuroplasticity can be activated through repetition. Whatever you repeatedly practice is what your brain gets good at.
That’s why stroke therapy always involves lots of repetition. Each time you repeat something, you run specific neural tracks. And the more you run those tracks, the deeper they become ingrained in your brain.
Here are some classic examples of how neuroplasticity can help treat stroke side effects:
- To restore movement in your leg, you need to practice leg exercises over and over and over.
- To restore your ability to speak, you need to practice speech therapy over and over and over.
Here are some less conventional applications of neuroplasticity:
- To restore your ability to remember things, you need to practice using your memory over and over and over.
- To restore your ability to control your emotions, you need to practice feeling your emotions over and over and over.
You can train your brain to do whatever you want through repetitive practice.
Treatment for Stroke
Repetition is the ultimate treatment for stroke side effects.
It will restore your lost abilities by activating neuroplasticity and compensating for the damage caused by stroke.
With time and lots of hard work, you can reclaim your life through deliberate practice.
This is why physical and occupational therapy requires you to perform exercises over and over and over. Repetition helps rewire your brain and strengthen those new mental circuits.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your movement after stroke, our home therapy tool, FitMi, helps motivate a seriously high number of repetitions so that you can recover from stroke even faster.