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Other Treatments for Stroke

Rehabilitation plays a big part in your healing. It may last months to years after the stroke. You may need to learn new ways to daily tasks. Many assistive technologies and adaptive tools can help. You will do best in programs that use repetition to relearn skills and tasks.

You will need help with:

Speech Problems

It may be hard for you to speak or understand words after a stroke. You may also have recall problems and find it hard to put words together. Speech therapy will help. It may take a lot of time and effort.

Swallowing Problems

This problem is common. It can get in the way of eating well and staying hydrated. It may also cause you to choke or cough while eating, or cough up food after eating. Breathing food and liquid into the lungs raises your risk of aspiration pneumonia.

Speech therapists can help. You may need to make short or long term changes to the kinds of foods you eat or how you eat them.

Problems Walking or Other Movement Problems

You may have problems walking. You may also need to relearn how to sit up. You may need to use walking aids, such as a cane or braces, to help support weakened muscles. Physical therapy will play a big role in your care. The therapist can teach you how to move about after a stroke that has caused lack of strength in your legs or body.

Occupational therapy can also help with the tasks that you do each day, such as eating, dressing, bathing, and going to the bathroom. You will need to work with therapists.

Fine Motor Problems

Hands and arms may also suffer from a stroke. You may have to relearn how to do things that you once felt were easy, such as writing or feeding yourself. Occupational therapists can tell you how to use assistive devices that will help.

Spatial Neglect

You may have problems processing stimuli from the world around you. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help.

Dependency

You may have to depend on others to feed you, move you, dress you, and get you to the bathroom. This is the hardest part of a stroke for most people.

Your family and friends can help. There are also professional caregivers who can help with daily tasks. Your doctor and others on your health care team will get you the help you will need.

It may take days or months for you to make progress. Set realistic goals and put your best effort in to reach them.

Depression

Depression is feeling profoundly sad and not wanting to do things that you once enjoyed. It is common after a stroke. It can be treated by working with a therapist and taking medicine. Antidepressants may help the brain heal after a stroke and help you get back mental and motor functioning.

REFERENCES:

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Chollet F, Acket B, Raposo N, et al. Use of antidepressant medications to improve outcomes after stroke. 2013;13(1):318.

Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42(1):227-276. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2010/10/21/STR.0b013e3181f7d043.full.pdf. Accessed January 16, 2018.

Life after a stroke. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/LifeAfterStroke/Life-After-Stroke_UCM_308546_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Long-term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900125/Long-term-management-of-stroke. Updated January 4, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Post-stroke rehabilitation fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://stroke.nih.gov/materials/rehabilitation.htm. Updated September 2014. Accessed January 17, 2018.

Stroke rehabilitation in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T580145/Stroke-rehabilitation-in-adults. Updated August 23, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2018.

Swallowing dysfunction after stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T474355/Swallowing-dysfunction-after-stroke. Updated March 5, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, et al, American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research.. Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2016 Jun;47(6):e98-e169 full-text, corrections can be found in Stroke 2017 Feb;48(2):e78 and Stroke 2017 Dec;48(12):e369.

10/22/2007 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T143427/Stroke-acute-management: Legg L, Drummond A, Leonardi-Bee J, et al. Occupational therapy for patients with problems in personal activities of daily living after stroke: systematic review of randomised trials. BMJ. 2007;335(7626):922.

10/9/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T143427/Stroke-acute-management: Mitchell PH, Veith RC, Becker KJ, et al. Brief psychosocial-behavioral intervention with antidepressant reduces poststroke depression significantly more than usual care with antidepressant: living well with stroke: randomized, controlled trial. Stroke. 2009;40(9):3073-3078.

1/14/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T143427/Stroke-acute-management: Chollet F, Tardy J, Albucher JF, et al. Fluoxetine for motor recovery after acute ischaemic stroke (FLAME): a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2011;10(2):123-130.

10/1/2013 DynaMed PlusSystematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T143427/Stroke-acute-management: Bowen A, Hazelton C, Pollock A. Cognitive rehabilitation for spatial neglect following stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;7:CD003586.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardRimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 1/16/2019