Stroke affects about 795,000 people in the US each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 1 million people in European countries suffer annually from strokes. It is the most prevalent cause of disability in adults in developed countries. The disease kills more than 130,000 Americans every year. The government spends at least $33 billion on the disease for healthcare services, medicine, and missed days of work. And unlike mental illness, strokes are far more likely to have a permanent physical effect on people who experience them.
Brain stroke refers to the loss of brain function due to a disruption in the blood supply to the brain. The disturbance is due to a lack of blood flow (ischemia) or hemorrhage. This leads us to the two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel through thrombosis or cerebral hypoperfusion. This accounts for almost 87% of all strokes. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the blood vessels of the brain, which can be either into the brain parenchyma or in the subarachnoid space within the brain tissue.
Because of the insufficient blood supply, the brain can’t function normally. This can cause several problems in bodily functions like:
- Losing motor skills in one or more limbs on either one side of the body
- Failure to understand speech or to speak
- Vision impairment
- Trouble swallowing
- Sudden bursts of emotion
- Bowel or bladder control problems
Treatments Used for Stroke Rehabilitation
A stroke is an emergency that results in serious problems or death. Each type of strokes has a corresponding treatment.
Thrombolysis or clot buster is an ideal treatment for ischemic strokes. Meanwhile, neurosurgery will work best with hemorrhagic strokes.
These treatments are usually done to save the lives of the patients. It is important to take additional treatments post stroke. This is to make sure patients will get the best possible recovery from stroke and can live independently. Post stroke treatments typically involve health care professionals in the following fields:
- Speech and language rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
Rehabilitation should start immediately and usually lasts for a few weeks to several years. There are a number of ways to help patients for post stroke recovery. One of the latest treatments made available is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of TMS.
TMS as Post Stroke Recovery Treatment
TMS is a non-invasive method that stimulates brain nerve cells. It is a painless procedure that does not require any sedation or anesthesia. During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp delivering pulses that excite nerve cells. It can activate nerve cells in the area where it has decreased activity. It has no major side effects and can be done inside a doctor’s clinic.
After a patient has suffered a stroke, either one side of their brain will become inactive while the other can get overloaded. A new study in Neurology suggests that stimulating the nerve cells in the brain with TMS may help patients. Doctors target the motor cortex of the undamaged part of the brain using this treatment option. TMS can increase brain activity and it works well in restoring the balance in the brain.