A stroke may make it difficult for someone to move their facial muscles and limbs, to speak and swallow, or to understand what is happening around them. This summary explains how physiotherapy can help.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden ‘brain attack’ that occurs when the blood flow to part of the brain is cut off. Usually, this is due to a blood clot. Stroke is more common in men and in people over 55, although it can occur at any age. A family history may increase the risk, as can lifestyle factors such as diet, drinking alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise, but sometimes there is no obvious cause.

How can physiotherapy help stroke patients?

Effective treatment can help you recover as well as possible from your stroke. Physiotherapists play a key role in your healthcare team while you are in hospital and afterwards. The healthcare team will provide you with a rehabilitation programme to help you become as mobile and as independent as possible. As part of your rehabilitation, your physio will provide treatment tailored to your specific needs. Depending on the severity of the stroke, physiotherapy can help you with getting your muscle control and strength back. A physio may also work with continence nurses to help you with bladder control, if that is a problem for you. They will support you and those around you throughout your rehabilitation, to get you back to your everyday life as well as you are able. Physiotherapy has been shown to work through clinical studies and research and is a treatment you can trust.