How Physical Therapy Helps Stroke Victims

A new University of Florida study finds that “in the case of stroke survivors, the key to better recovery is to spend more time in an intensive physical therapy program.”

“After a stroke, the brain and body can start recovering immediately and can show improvement up to six months afterward, said UF Health researcher Janis Daly, Ph.D. But this study focused on people who had persistent disability even a year or more after completing standard care. The study found that extensive physical therapy helped them recover motor function, even though they began the study treatment a year or more after stroke.”

“To help patients regain movements of the shoulders, arms and hands, which are crucial in many daily activities, researchers administered an intensive physical therapy program that included five hours of rehabilitation per day, five days per week, for 12 weeks to 39 study participants. The researchers tested three different modes of rehabilitation. The first was motor learning rehabilitation… The second and third modes of rehabilitation were electrical stimulation rehabilitation and robotics-assisted rehabilitation.”

“Each of the groups improved significantly, on average doubling or nearly doubling their scores on a scale that assesses coordination. Daly says the recovery for all three groups was equal, with no statistically significant difference between the groups.”