Returning to a Normal Way of Life After Stroke Treatment

The time it takes to recover after stroke treatment varies for every person. Some regain full health while others can be stricken with disabilities.

Two women kissing their elderly mother on the cheeks

Did you know that a person who has recently undergone stroke treatment can still be vulnerable to another attack? Yikes. In fact, one in four people develop another stroke within five years after the first one.

To reduce the risk of a stroke, it is necessary to address the underlying causes of the disease, which are: 

  • Diabetes 

These are a few steps to help you get back on your feet again and prevent a stroke recurrence. 

Woman staring down at the floor of her hospital room as she sits in a wheelchair
People who undergo stroke treatment may be vulnerable to chronic disabilities like paralysis on one side of the body.

Steps to Recover Holistically After Stroke Treatment 

You will need to undergo treatment in a hospital after a stroke where you will be given medicines to restore blood supply to the brain and prevent further damage. If given early, the medicine may even help to reverse the damage caused by the stroke. The amount of time it takes to recover from a stroke differs from one person to another. It may take you a few weeks, months, or even years to regain your health. Some have a complete recovery in a few days. Others, unfortunately, may have prolonged or permanent disabilities. These include:

  • Paralysis or weakness on one or both sides of the body 
  • Difficulty understanding or forming speech 
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing 
  • Difficulty controlling the bowel or bladder 
  • Difficulty regulating or expressing emotions 
  • Experiencing numbness or other unusual sensations 
  • Experiencing pain in the limbs that worsen with movement or temperature changes 
  • Difficulties with awareness, attention, judgment, memory, learning, and thinking 
  • Depression 

It is important that you continue to take your medications regularly to prevent a recurrence. Simultaneously, work on persisting disabilities with alternative therapies. With a positive mindset and determination, you will soon be able to go back to normal life.

Woman crouching while looking out a window sadly
Depression is a notable after-effect of a stroke.

Put yourself through a multifaceted rehabilitation programme 

The key to recovery from a stroke is rehabilitation. You should ideally start rehabilitation within 48 hours after a stroke. “Early intervention or treatment can improve the chances of a complete recovery. Combining clinical and traditional rehabilitation modalities can aid with post-stroke paralysis. It’ll enable you to recover limb motor functions, re-learn daily living skills, and reduce the risk of disability,” advises Eu Yan Sang Physician Ignatius Ooi. 

Rehabilitation comprises physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Physical therapy uses exercises to improve muscle memory and coordination skills. It also helps to prevent spasticity and loosens the muscles. Some examples of these are walking and exercises, which allow you to manage your disability.

Speech therapy helps with speech formation and understanding words, while occupational therapy focuses on recollecting how to perform daily activities like eating or drinking, taking a shower and writing. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stroke rehabilitation aims to restore health to the five internal organs and tackle conditions that are imbalanced. Licensed TCM practitioners will also consider internal and external factors and use syndrome differentiation when proposing suitable remedies.

Inculcate a healthy lifestyle 

Consume a light, balanced diet. Monitor and control your blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Limit alcohol consumption and eat less sodium-rich foods. Instead, opt for more beans, grains, soy products, and fruits and vegetables. If you’re a smoker, quit the habit, pronto.

Maintain a calm mind and stay in positive spirits. You should avoid events that provoke excessive psychological stimulation, which are: 

  • Anger 
  • Fear 
  • Joy 
  • Sadness 
  • Shock 
  • Worry 
  • Overthinking 

In addition, ensure that you stay warm and take your prescription medications on time. If you experience dizziness, immobility, delirium, or slurred speech, seek medical treatment immediately.

Support clinical treatment with acupuncture and herbal formulas 

Generally, acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbal formulas can be the primary treatment for post-stroke disabilities. If you’re experiencing paralysis, the therapeutic principle will activate blood circulation and promote blood and qi (vital life force) flow in the meridians. The acupressure points to work on are: 

  • Jian yu (LI15, 肩髃) 
  • Qu chi (LI11, 曲池) 
  • Shou san li (LI10, 手三里) 
  • Wai guan (TE5, 外关) 
  • He gu (LI4, 合谷) 
  • Huan tiao (GB30, 环跳
  • Zu san li (ST36, 足三里) 
  • Yang ling quan(GB34, 阳陵泉) 
  • Feng long (ST40, 丰隆
  • Jie xi (ST41, 解溪
  • Kun lun (BI60, 昆仑) 
  • Tai chong (LV3, 太沖) 

Likewise, a TCM practitioner may conduct acupuncture treatment on the shou san li (LI10, 手三里)and zu san li (ST36, 足三里) points.

Speech difficulties can be handled by eliminating phlegm. The consumption of Jie Yu (解郁) decoction and acupuncture on the lian quan (CV23, 廉泉), tong li (HT5, 通里), and feng long (ST40, 丰隆) points are recommended.  

On the other hand, facial distortion can be treated with Qian zheng powder (牵正散) and acupressure on the di cang (ST4, 地仓), xia guan (ST7, 下关), jia che (ST6, 颊车), feng chi (GB20, 风池) and he gu (LI04, 合谷) points. 

A rehabilitative environment is conducive to holistic recovery after stroke treatment. It’s also advisable to seek advice from a certified practitioner before using TCM modalities. In doing so, you’ll be able to prevent misdiagnosis, and they can monitor your response to therapy.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treat and Recover From Stroke. [online] [Accessed 19 May 2022] 
  2. MDPI. 2020. Pathophysiology and Treatment of Stroke: Present Status and Future Perspectives. [online] [Accessed 19 May 2022] 
  3. Shen-Nong Limited. Stroke: Treatment. [online] [Accessed 19 May 2022] 

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