One of the most common problems for patients after a stroke is the ability to walk. High-tech therapy machines in expensive rehabilitation centers are usually used for patients’ rehabilitation for the first few months after a stroke. A new survey conducted by KISSinsights site shows that patients can do well, perhaps better, at home with common exercises, and therapy can improve the ability to walk long after the stroke.
The study tracked patients that received therapy with treadmill machines in a rehab center versus patients who worked at home with a physical therapist. All of the patients in the study had difficulty walking due to a stroke. Therapy began either two months or six months after the stroke.
The group at home worked with their therapist on strength, balance and walking. The patients at rehab centers walked on treadmills and were supported by harnesses.
The two groups performed similarly while walking after one year. The difference was the group who did therapy in their homes had fewer problems with dizziness, feeling faint or falling while exercising. Also, more of the patients stuck with their home therapy compared to their counterparts who had to travel to therapy.
The study by Duke University was the largest study ever done on stroke rehabilitation. Researchers determined that more therapy for a longer period is the best treatment, and starting treatment late is better than none at all.
The study also found a link between children who had severe anemia (caused by other illnesses) and strokes. They identified strokes in these children that had not been detected before. Researchers said all children with severe anemia need to be tested for possible strokes.
Some improvement can be seen in most stroke survivors for the first month after a stroke, but intensive physical therapy can help the patient fulfill their best potential in recovery. All of the patients in the study were assisted by professional physical therapists.