Stroke and brain injury are just a small portion of the many neurological diagnoses we treat at The Gait Center.
Nearly 800,000 people in the US suffer from a stroke each year. A stroke is an event that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted- either by a clot or by a hemorrhaged blood vessel, which can result in a variety of impairments determined by the severity of the stroke and also by which part of the brain is affected. Frequently, a stroke will result in hemiparesis, decreased coordination, or impaired motor control. This can significantly limit a person’s function and mobility, especially their ability to walk or balance.
A brain injury is similar to a stroke in that it causes damage to the brain, however, rather than occlusion of blood flow to the brain, the damage is caused by an external force. There is a large continuum of symptoms based on the severity of the brain injuries. Some people may experience mild symptoms with balance difficulties or vision changes. Other people may experience more severe symptoms including significant loss of motor control, increased muscle tone (uncontrolled tightening), and severe decline in function.
At the Gait Center, we develop a specialized plan of care based on each individual’s impairments, activity limitations, and personal goals for recovery. We focus on the body as a whole and work to improve each person’s independence and safety with mobility. Our therapists use the latest evidence based practice to improve our patients’ function. Motor recovery and neuromuscular re-education are important components of our treatment plan, requiring frequent repetition and activation of muscle groups in a functional pattern. We also have therapists trained in manual techniques used to facilitate functional movement to improve posture, transfers, and gait after a stroke or neurological impairment. We have a facility that allows us the space to practice gait training without having to stop frequently to turn, using our extra-long sets of parallel bars or our track space. Education is another important aspect of our treatment plan, as it is the cornerstone in understanding how physical therapy can help you specifically to improve your function and your overall quality of life after suffering from a stroke or brain injury.