There are about 4 million U.S. stroke survivors who have trouble learning to walk after suffering a stroke. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when the mantra from many doctors is that you must start rehabilitation right away, maybe at an expensive stroke rehab center. But is that really the case, or can you adjust your exercise post-stroke to your needs, balancing our many factors such as time, costs, or convenience?
Research presented at the American Stroke Association’s annual stroke conference looked at whether using a very intense therapy on a newly designed machine that includes a harness to help support your weight, was as beneficial as working with a physical therapist at home doing exercises. What they found was that a home exercise program using a physical therapist was just as beneficial as this fancy and aggressive technology with the harness. This was surprising to the researchers, and even to us, but perhaps it should not be, as perhaps the most important factor in rehab is working with a qualified profession who can motivate you yes, but also understand you and your families needs.
There was one thing this study didn’t touch on that we thought was important to mention, and that’s your mental health. We know that exercise improves mental health, so we do wonder whether having a patient with a stroke start their post-stroke therapy sooner is more beneficial to their mental health or not. Support means more than just physical needs.
Overall, we think this study should be encouraging to those stroke victims who may not have access to the latest technologies being offered, but they still need to work with qualified therapists in an outpatient setting to ensure successful results.
For those of you interested in learning more about LEAPS (Locomotor Experience Applied Post-Stroke. LEAPS ) you can go to: http://leaps.usc.edu/ and let us know what you think!