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How does physical therapy help after having a stroke?

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Physical therapy helps patients regain motor and sensory abilities in their limbs after strokes, the National Institutes of Health states. Therapy involves practicing isolated movements repeatedly until the limb functions normally.

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How does physical therapy help after having a stroke?
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Physical therapists teach people who have had a stroke how to walk and regain a sense of balance, Mayo Clinic adds. The recovery time from a stroke depends on the severity of the stroke, the mood of the patient, and how early a patient starts rehabilitation. Those who start physical therapy immediately usually experience the highest rates of recovery during the first few months after the stroke.

When brain cells die or become damaged during a stroke, it affects a person's ability to make basic movements, the National Stroke Association explains. Stroke patients who visit a physical therapist receive help strengthening muscles. Therapists give patients exercises designed to support the muscles used for walking, standing and doing other basic activities.

Another benefit of going to physical therapy after a stroke is improved brain plasticity, the National Institutes of Health claims. When patients repeatedly use their limbs to make movements, they help their brains remember how to make those movements. People who cannot stand on their own use hydrotherapy as directed by a physical therapist. The water used in this therapy supports a patient's weight while stimulating the sensory sections of the brain. Stimulation of limbs helps the body regain its original range of motion in the area.

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