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Effects of stroke

The severity of effects and impairments after stroke depends on the affected areas of the brain and the duration and extent of the reduced blood flow or cerebral hemorrhage.

Stroke results in mild to severe physical disabilities and cognitive impairments suddenly affecting a person’s life after stroke.

Effects of stroke

Most common effects of stroke are:

  • Restricted movement due to hemiparesis
    Hemiparesis may be more or less severe: hemiparesis of the face, arm and/or leg. Stroke causes complete or partial failure of the transmission from the affected brain area via the spinal cord and the nerve tracts to the muscle. Mobility, function and control of the upper and/or lower extremity and/or the torso are restricted. This bears the risk of muscle atrophy. Functional electrotherapy can be used to strengthen the muscles and relearn motion sequences.

  • Coordination disorder
    Synergetic coordination of the function of several muscle groups and the rehabilitation of targeted counter-functions is only possible when practicing complex movement patterns. Electrotherapy with biofeedback allows targeted coordination training.

  • Sensitivity disorder
    Sensitivity disorders in the affected areas are also often observed. Electrostimulation can improve surface sensitivity.

  • Incontinence
    Damages in the areas of the brain which control the urinary bladder and the rectum can result in urinary or fecal incontinence. Special pelvic floor training, e.g. with electrotherapy, strengthens the affected muscles. Voluntarily contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles can be practiced with EMG-triggered electrotherapy with biofeedback in addition to conventional electrotherapy.

  • Pain
    Sensorimotor disorders can cause pain due to immobility and abnormal posture. Lesions in the central nervous system can also directly cause neuropathic pain. Electrotherapy can alleviate pain by increasing blood flow or influencing pain perception.

  • Painful shoulder (subluxation of the shoulder joint)
    Specific electrotherapy to strengthen the muscles stabilizing the shoulder joint can reduce the symptoms.

  • Spasticity
    Spasticity is a state of increased muscle tone resulting from a lack of coordination between brain and spinal cord. Normal movement is not possible which results in pain and increased muscle tone. The increased muscle tone can be reduced with electrotherapy and biofeedback. The patient is encouraged to relax actively.

  • Cognitive disorders 
    e.g. disorders of attention, memory, concentration, motivation, executive function (planning, acting, problem-solving), visual-spatial performance, insight into the disease, neglect (e.g. neglecting one side of the body). Electrotherapy and biofeedback can improve cognitive skills.

  • Imbalance
    Independent of the severity of the disorder, intensive balance training is recommended to reduce the risk of falling.

  • Language disorder (aphasia)
    e.g. disorder of speech understanding, anomia, grammar; problems with reading and writing up to total loss of speech

  • Speech disorders
    e.g. impaired speech movements such as vocalization, articulation and speech breathing

  • Swallowing disorder (dysphagia)
    Dysphagia bears the risk of malnutrition and pneumonia.

  • Sight disorders
    e.g. diplopic images, blurred vision, unilaterally decreased visual field (hemianopia). If sight disorders persist after a phase of possible spontaneous regeneration (approx. 6 months), compensation therapy is often the only solution.

  • Mood disorders
    e.g. depression

    The described effects often lead to the affected person being restricted in activities of daily life (ADL). It is crucial, therefore, to start with targeted treatment, therapy and rehabilitation after stroke as soon as possible.

Important:

This article contains only general information and must not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. This information does not replace medical advice.