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Common Complications After Stroke: What Are They and What Can Be Done?

Saebo
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018


A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is suddenly interrupted, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain and causing brain cells to die quickly. Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are three main types of stroke:

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Drug Interactions and Stroke: Can Drugs Cause Strokes?

Saebo
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018


The average age of a stroke survivor is 68 years old but, in recent years, stroke cases in younger age groups have increased. The direct correlation between drug use and stroke risk is well-known and strokes among younger age groups commonly result from illicit drug use, prescription drug abuse, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. While not all strokes are preventable, individuals can always practice healthy lifestyle choices to minimize their stroke risk moving forward. Additionally, if an individual does suffer a stroke from drug use or alcohol abuse, drug abuse treatment can play a role in the stroke recovery and rehabilitation process.

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Vitamin Deficiencies and Stroke Risk

Saebo
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018


The organ systems in our body constantly work in tandem—when one area struggles, the others respond. Vital nutrients such as Vitamin D and B12 help maintain this delicate balance, especially after a neurological disruption like a stroke event. Research connects vitamin deficiencies with both the body’s stroke risk and its ability to recover from a stroke event. An insufficiency in these nutrients—or the inability to absorb them—can cause the three major types of stroke: ischemic, hemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack, commonly known as a mini-stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, triggered by a blood clot blocking the flow of oxygen to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is a result of internal bleeding in the brain due to a broken blood vessel.

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How to Combat Numbness After Stroke

Saebo
Saturday, September 29th, 2018


Numbness and other unusual sensations in the limbs and other body parts are common after a stroke event. These after effects can significantly impact the quality of movement as well as jeopardize safety. In this article, we’ll discuss some helpful exercises for those experiencing numbness and other after-event sensations.

What Is the Experience of Numbness Like?

Sensory input from different parts of the body can change after a stroke event. These altered sensations can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Numbness
  • Heaviness
  • Tingling
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feelings of being wet or underwater
  • Pain
  • Irregularities in feeling temperature
  • Difficulty detecting the position of the limb

 

As a family member of a survivor trying to better understand what your loved one is going through, think about the feeling of a foot or arm falling asleep. Then, imagine experiencing that sensation all the time and how difficult it would be to get through the day with one or more limbs in that condition. Even holding a spoon to stir your morning coffee becomes a huge chore. One positive thing to remember, however, is that survivors have not suffered nerve damage in their appendages; their brains have just forgotten for the time being that the nerves are there or how to use them. This means that, with some work, stroke survivors can potentially overcome these conditions.

What Causes Numbness?

How do chronic numbness and tingling sensations occur, if they are not due to nerve damage or blood loss to limbs? During a stroke event, blood loss to parts of the brain causes connections between brain cells to become damaged. When connections are lost in the networks of cells that coordinate motor functions, a stroke survivor is left having to re-educate their brain to the use of these body parts. Similarly, a survivor’s hand or arm numbness is caused by the brain having trouble processing information from the sensory receptors in the arm or hand. Although the sensory receptors in a stroke survivor’s hand are intact, the arm or hand feels numb. Recovery of sensation after stroke can be established by re-educating the brain in these pathways.

 

To recover, new connections have to be made to put new, undamaged cells in control of the body part(s) where function has been lost. Similar to the loss of functional movement in a limb after a stroke, numbness and odd sensations occur because a part of the brain in control of that limb has been damaged. When cellular connections in the brain are damaged, the brain will work to compensate for the loss of signal, or even send mixed signals. People experience many different types of sensations during this process, depending on where and how damage has occurred. For example, some may not have lost all sensation, but intermittently experience pain, numbness, tingling, or even the feeling of being wet, due to this misfiring.

Different Ways to Approach and Treat Numbness

A stroke survivor’s current stage of recovery will dictate what they should be doing to correct feelings of numbness in different parts of the body. Vigilance is crucial in the early stages of recovery from a stroke event. Often, survivors will be rendered completely immobile after a stroke. When this happens, stroke survivors need to participate in physical and occupational therapy as soon as their condition stabilizes, to regain sensation in the limb and keep the muscles from atrophying. 

1. Gather together objects with different textures and place them onto a table. Without looking at the objects, pick them up and feel them. Try to distinguish the differences among textures.
Some examples of objects to grab are soft scarves, rough sandpaper, fluffy cotton balls, rough Velcro, and cool silverware.

2. Fill a bowl with uncooked rice and bury different textured objects in it, like marbles, coins, paper clips, and cotton balls. Reach into the bowl and try to find the objects without looking. Identify them by touch.

3. Electrical stimulation has been found to be effective in facilitating improved sensation after stroke. Tools like the SaeboStim Micro use a low-level electrical impulse to help improve sensory function.

4. Another rehabilitation technique that can possibly restore sensation is mirror box therapy. In mirror box therapy exercises, the patient places a mirror in front of their affected limb. They then engage in repetitive bimanual, symmetrical movement practice, in which the survivor moves the affected limb while watching the reflection of the unaffected limb moving..

5. If an individual has difficulty with thermal sensation, contrasting temperatures may help. Soak a cloth in cold water and soak another cloth in hot (but not scalding) water. Place the cold cloth on the arm and try to feel that sensation. After 30 seconds, switch out the cold cloth for the warm cloth. Try to feel the difference in temperature. Ask the stroke survivor to close their eyes and have someone to place one cloth on an arm so the survivor can try to determine if it’s hot or cold. Repeat this exercise back and forth alternating between hot and cold.

 

There Are Many Ways to Combat Numbness after Stroke

Saebo offers stroke survivors many innovative and affordable tools to aid in their recovery of sensation as well as movement. At Saebo, we’re passionate about making sure you find everything you need to achieve your rehabilitation goals. Here at Saebo, we are committed to stroke support and recovery for all survivors and their families. Saebo offers a wide range of products that combine cutting-edge technology with evidence-based rehabilitation techniques. Our offerings and network of Saebo-trained therapists can help you or a loved one to obtain all the necessary tools to maximize stroke recovery. 


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by the Saebo website is solely at your own risk. 

Guide to Electrical Stimulation

Saebo
Saturday, September 29th, 2018


Electrical stimulation therapy is a therapeutic treatment with a multitude of uses. It can help prevent atrophy and build strength in patients with injuries. It can be helpful in restoring function and reducing edema, especially after a stroke. In electrical stimulation, non-invasive electrodes are placed on the patient’s skin, causing the targeted muscles to contract. A mild electrical current is sent to an area of the body that is receiving confused, few, or no signals from the brain after a stroke. This stimulates the body’s inner electrical system, inducing new connections to be formed in the brain and, in turn, allowing for greater control of the particular area of the body. Electrical stimulation works by mimicking the natural way the body exercises its muscles. With electrical stimulation, the patient is able to maintain muscle tone and strength that would otherwise waste away from lack of usage.

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Ocular Migraines and Stroke

Saebo
Thursday, September 27th, 2018


Today, migraines are considered “the most common neurological disorderaccording to the Journal of Stroke, and, in the United States alone, about 30 million people suffer from these debilitating headaches. Research has determined that all migraineurs are at a higher risk of suffering a stroke, and this risk factor is potentially doubled or tripled for individuals who suffer from migraines with visual disturbances collectively known as “aura.”

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Guide to Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

Saebo
Thursday, September 27th, 2018


 The heart is a complex organ that is not only dependent upon a system of muscles and blood vessels, but also on specific cells that send crucial electrical signals. When functioning correctly, these signals tell the heart when to contract and relax in order to create a proper heartbeat. An inconsistent heartbeat can lead to an array of issues, ranging from fatigue and dizziness to more extreme complications, including stroke and heart failure. When the atrial chambers irregularly speed up to the point of quivering, for example, this disorder is known as atrial fibrillation.

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The SaeboFlex helps me strengthen my fingers, improve my grasp and release, and actually helps me reach up taller!

Thursday, September 27th, 2018


An effective and engaging home therapy program is CRITICAL for a successful recovery. Check out Neal’s creative home exercise using the SaeboFlex!

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Healthy and Unhealthy Ranges of Blood Pressure for Stroke Patients

Saebo
Friday, September 14th, 2018


Our blood pressure acts as a window into the health of our cardiovascular system. When blood pressure spikes too high or dips too low, it can be a signal that the blood vessels are struggling to supply enough blood to each organ in the body. If When this occurs, there can be a danger of a stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, and related complications.

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Best Hand Exercise Equipment for Stroke Rehab

Saebo
Saturday, September 8th, 2018


Having the right exercise equipment can help you recover faster after a stroke. Specialized tools exist to help you build up the strength and skill to use dining tools again, to cook a meal, to dress yourself — the strength and skills to take your life back.

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How to Combat Numbness After Stroke | Saebo https://t.co/1rv2mxMqjh #NoPlateauInSight