Moving around can be difficult enough for those of us who haven’t experienced strokes. But I think it’s impossible for us to understand, how difficult it must be, for someone who has trouble standing, let alone walking.
People with stroke often have difficulty balancing when standing and find the effort required to remain standing tiring. Furthermore, safe opportunities to practice standing are generally limited in the early stages of stroke recovery. A key part of neurological physiotherapy is to work with people with hemiplegia and encourage more balanced and confident standing.
Neurophysios work to improve standing balance in clinical and hospital settings, but also in many other places in the community. Encouraging outings and finding places with even floors, good lighting and suitable access is all part of working towards improved confidence in walking in a variety of places. Recently at heads up! we have helped people to walk more confidently in their gardens, gyms, supermarkets, swimming pools, golf clubs, hairdressers and on allotments, places where they can improve their quality of life and return to doing things they enjoy.
English et al (2015) recently completed a study on thirty-three people with stroke, investigating the feasibility of giving counselling sessions with a message of ‘sit less, move more’ to encourage spending less time in sitting. The study lasted seven weeks and the baseline average of 640 minutes per day (10.66 hours) sitting down was decreased in both experimental and control groups. In particular, the time spent sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time decreased. The people with stroke increased the time they spent in stepping and standing.
Prolonged, uninterrupted bouts of sitting are particularly detrimental to health and there is increasing evidence regarding the relationship of time spent in sedentary inactive behaviours and an increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
As hard as it is to prove the efficacy of neurological physiotherapy in an experimental setting, it is clear for all to see that the confidence and the motivation that is provided by neuro-physios the world over is fundamental in getting people who have had strokes back on their feet.
Find out more:
English C et al. Reducing sitting time after stroke. A Phase II safety and feasibility randomised controlled trial 2015 Arch Phys Med Rehabil. E pub ahead of print
English C, Healy GN, Coates A, et al. Sitting and Activity Time in People with Stroke. Phys Ther 2015; 95:
At heads up! we treat everyone as an individual, working with our patients to create tailored treatment programmes. We are also here for continual, support, advice, information and encouragement.