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How to Manage Common Mental & Physical Difficulties After Stroke

Having a stroke can take an emotional and physical toll. If you've had a stroke, you don't have to go it alone. Post-stroke rehabilitative care can help restore your quality of life.

Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke every year. This life-threatening condition occurs when blood flow to your brain becomes reduced or disrupted, thus starving tissue of vital oxygen and nutrients. In only a few short minutes, your brain cells can start dying, which can lead to temporary or irreversible disabilities and even death.

The symptoms you experience after having a stroke depend on which area of your brain sustains damage. There are five primary issues seen in stroke survivors, including:

  • Paralysis or muscle-control problems
  • Sensory issues, such as pain
  • Difficulty understanding or using language
  • Challenges with memory and thinking
  • Emotional problems

Of all the men and women who suffer a stroke annually, approximately two-thirds require post-stroke rehabilitation. As an experienced expert in physical medicine, rehabilitation, and brain injury medicine, Dr. Sravani Mehta can help you manage a wide range of mental and physical difficulties at Brain and Stroke Care in Nashville, Tennessee.

It takes a team

Recovering from a stroke doesn't happen overnight, and it takes a dedicated team of post-stroke experts, including:

  • Physiatrist
  • Rehab Psychologists
  • Physical, occupational, recreational, speech-language, and vocational therapists
  • Rehabilitation nurses

As part of this specialized team, Dr. Mehta will work closely with you to create a personalized and holistic treatment plan that supports all aspects of your health, including your medical, social, emotional, and vocational needs.

Don't wait to start rehab

After having a stroke, your rehabilitation should begin as soon as you're able. In some cases, this can be within 24-48 hours, and it can get underway even before you leave the hospital.

For your long-term rehabilitation plan, Dr. Mehta and your team will develop a personalized treatment strategy based on the extent of your stroke, your age, your overall health, your lifestyle, and your priorities and interests. They'll also work closely with your support systems, such as family members or caregivers, to make sure you have the network you need for success.

As part of your post-stroke rehabilitation plan, Dr. Mehta will work to help you improve or restore lost or impaired functions. These aspects of your physical therapy might focus on helping you relearn certain skills, such as how to eat, dress, bathe, or walk. This is so you can regain as much of your independence as possible and adjust to any irreversible changes your stroke may have caused.

Caring for your emotional health

Strokes can be just as debilitating for your emotional health as your physical health. It's common to have mood changes, depression, feelings of helplessness, and a lower sex drive after having a stroke. Strokes can also be hard on your caregiver's health.

To help maintain your self-esteem, Dr. Mehta recommends stroke rehab strategies for you and your caregivers, including:

  • Practicing acceptance and patience, so you can focus on your progress, not setbacks
  • Getting out of your house even when it's hard or you feel self-conscious
  • Accepting negative thoughts as part of the process but not letting them get you down. Preface the negative thought with "the story I'm telling myself is"
  • Joining a support group to share experiences, gain information, and establish new friendships
  • Communicating clearly with your friends and family so they understand what you need
  • Practicing and taking your time as you aim to overcome various challenges, such as speech and language issues

It's also essential to remember when you're recovering from a stroke that you're not alone. Every 40 seconds in the U.S., someone has a stroke.

To learn more about post-stroke rehabilitation, book an appointment online or over the phone with Brain and Stroke Care today.

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