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Having a stroke breaks vital connections between your brain and your muscles, which is why it is the leading cause of long-term disability and almost always results in some loss of mobility and movement. However, this loss isn’t necessarily permanent. In fact, rehabilitation is especially crucial during the early stages of recovery, when patients have little to no control over their affected muscles. No matter where you are in your journey toward recovery, your long-term progress will depend on a consistent physical therapy regimen. Learn why physical therapy for strokes is so helpful for stroke survivors, and what to look for as you select a facility and seek out services for stroke survivors.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to one’s brain is blocked or broken, thus damaging brain cells. With the loss of these brain cells, a person also loses skills controlled by that portion of the brain. Exactly what skills or how many a patient may lose depends on the severity of the brain damage as well as the portion of the brain that suffers the damage.

Stroke often causes paralysis on one side of the body, which means patients lose function in one arm and one leg. In the first weeks and months of recovery, physical therapists work with stroke survivors to keep these muscles toned and stimulated – even before they regain voluntary movement. If and when function does return, physical therapy allows patients to relearn everyday skills and retrain their healthy brain cells to control the affected body parts. This is part of the various services offered for stroke recovery including occupational therapy, rehabilitation nursing and speech therapy.