Stroke Treatment Guidelines – What is the Most Efficient Option for Stroke Recovery?
The stroke treatment starts as soon as the patient’s been taken to the hospital with the evident signs of a stroke.
Accordingly, patients will immediately get medical assistance, which includes treatments to prevent another stroke and rehabilitation, which treats the stroke consequences. The specific treatment will be provided after the doctors determine which type of stroke it is about, which is done by performing brain scans. Apart from typical therapies that involve brain surgery or insertion of the tube through a major artery in the leg or arm, there is another stroke treatment you may not have been familiar with – acupuncture.
Although it might sound unusual, acupuncture for stroke has shown excellent results in the rehabilitation process. According to many studies, the immediate intervention of acupuncture can significantly impact the motor abilities of the patient who suffered a stroke.
The following article will provide you with all the vital information about the most frequent types of stroke treatment, including acupuncture and alternative medicine.
What is the Most Common Treatment for Stroke?
Treatment for the stroke primarily depends on the type of stroke you suffered:
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood from the artery starts bleeding into the brain. This type of stroke is caused by a weakened blood vessel that bursts and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The leaked blood causes the pressure that damages brain cells, which is why the damaged area becomes unable to function correctly. There are two main types of hemorrhagic stroke:
- Intracerebral hemorrhage: This type of stroke happens inside the brain, and it’s the most common form of the stroke.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Unlike the first type, subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs between the brain and the membranes that cover it.
Both types come with more or less similar symptoms, which include:
- Sudden and severe headache
- Changes in vision
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Inability to move
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Loss of speech ability and difficulty to understand it
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
Apart from these signs, you may also face the inability to look at a bright light, hand tremors, and difficulty while swallowing.
Hemorrhagic stroke is often caused by hypertension, cavernous cerebral malfunctions (when blood vessels don’t form correctly in the brain), and arteriovenous malformations, which is a genetic condition where blood vessels form incorrectly, creating an enormously tangled web.
The hemorrhagic stroke treatment is mostly focused on controlling the bleeding, reducing pressure in the brain, and stabilizing the vital signals, especially blood pressure.
As soon as you’re hospitalized, you may get through some of the following procedures:
- Transfusion of blood parts: In order to stop the bleeding, your practitioner may get you medicine or a transfusion of blood parts, especially plasma, which is given through an IV (intravenous).
- Thoughtful observations: While you’re hospitalized, the doctors will watch you all the time, making sure there is no pressure on your brain. That said, they will ensure you’re not coughing, vomiting, lifting something heavy, or straining.
- Surgery: If the bleeding doesn’t stop and symptoms get worse, you may need an urgent surgery that will remove the blood that has accumulated inside the brain and lower the pressure inside the head.
- Medicines: In some cases, you’ll be given the medication to control blood pressure, brain swelling, blood sugar levels, fever, and seizures.
However, the consequences of the stroke will remain even after your health’s been stabilized. Most people face swallowing difficulties, muscle stiffness, and paralysis, which prevent them from performing their everyday activities and functions.
Therefore, it’s essential to start with some of the stroke treatment options as soon as you leave the hospital.
Ischemic stroke is usually caused by a blockage in the artery that supplies blood to the brain. When that happens, the blockage reduces the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which later leads to the death of brain cells. There are two types of ischemic stroke:
- Thrombotic (Cerebral Thrombosis): This is the most common type of ischemic stroke – it occurs when a blood clot forms inside a damaged artery in the brain, blocking blood flow.
- Embolic (Cerebral Embolism): This type of ischemic stroke is caused when a clot or small piece of plaque formed in one of the arteries is pushed through the bloodstream in narrower brain arteries.
The symptoms of ischemic stroke depend on what area of the brain is affected. However, ischemic stroke is mostly followed by the next signs:
- Vision problems: Patients who experienced ischemic stroke had some vision problems, including blindness in one eye or double vision.
- Weakness or paralysis: Feeling the weakness or paralysis in your limbs is another sign of ischemic stroke. You may feel them on one or both sides, depending on the affected artery.
- Dizziness and vertigo: It’s not rare that the patients feel certain doses of dizziness and vertigo, which make them lose their stability, coordination, and orientation.
- Drooping of the face on one side: This is the most common symptom of the stroke – namely, patients always experience a loss of facial movement that occurs due to a damaged nerve. Although it usually happens on one side only, it’s not rare that it expands to both sides of your face.
If you notice some of the mentioned symptoms on someone, you should react quickly and take that person to a hospital. It’s essential to include the treatment as soon as possible since that’s the best way of preventing permanent body damages.
As soon as the patient’s been hospitalized, he/she will immediately undergo emergency treatment, which includes medications or procedures performed directly to the blocked blood vessel.
Here is what ischemic stroke treatment in the hospital may include:
- Intravenous injection of a tissue plasminogen activator: The tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the injection usually given 3-4.5 hours after the stroke symptoms begin. This drug is essential for restoring blood flow by dissolving the blood clot that causes your stroke, which is why it significantly helps patients recover more fully.
- Medications given directly to the brain: This is the type of endovascular procedures, and it should be performed as soon as possible. Namely, doctors may insert a long tube through the artery to deliver tPA directly to the area where the stroke is occurring.
- Using the stent retriever to remove the clot: This procedure is vital for those patients whose clot can’t be entirely dissolved with tPA, which is why doctors usually use a catheter to maneuver a device into a blood vessel in your brain. They mostly combine such processes with intravenous tPA for the best results.
Transient Ischemic Stroke (TIA)
Transient ischemic stroke is also known as a mini-stroke, and it’s treated as a neurological emergency. TIA can be perceived as a sign of a possible future stroke, which is why it’s essential to get qualified medical help as soon as you notice some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty speaking and understanding others
- Loss of sight or blurry vision
- Loss of strength or numbness in an arm or a leg
Such signs usually don’t last longer than one hour, but even when they resolve, you shouldn’t ignore them
Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery
As soon as patients leave the hospital, they must undergo appropriate stroke care, which focuses on helping you recover as many functions as possible and go back to your independent living.
The rehabilitation process may depend on the affected side of the brain – that said, if the right side of the brain is affected, you may face movement difficulties on the left side of your body; if the left side of the brain were damaged, the movement and sensation of the right side of the body would be affected. Also, the damage on the left side of the brain may cause language and speech disorders.
The doctor will determine the right rehabilitation treatment based on a patient’s age, overall health, and degree of disability from the stroke. Depending on the patient’s condition, a doctor may recommend some of the following treatment teams:
- Physical Therapist
- Recreational Therapist
- Speech Pathologist
- Certified Acupuncture Practitioner
The Role of Acupuncture for Stroke Recovery
Stroke can leave severe consequences, which require adequate treatments that would help the patient successfully recover.
Apart from Western medicine, which is mostly used for such recoveries, the impact of the Eastern methods and acupuncture has shown amazing results lately. Alternative medicine is usually not the first thing that comes to our minds, and that might be because people don’t know much about the entire process and outcomes.
As you may already know, acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, stainless steel needles into the acupoints found on our body, impacting the flow of blood and energy, the two essential factors for a healthy organism.
People are not yet familiar with the advantages of such therapies due to the lack of informs and studies, but the fact that 85% of patients have responded positively to the treatment means that it’s a method worth trying.
Namely, acupuncture has proven its efficiency in treating stroke-caused conditions such as paralysis, speech and swallowing difficulties, and depression. It is confirmed that acupuncture opens blood vessels and impacts blood flow, decreasing clotting, and inflammation.
Scalp Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation
The number of neurological dysfunctions increases daily, but thanks to Chinese medicine techniques combined with the Western medical approach, all the conditions can be treated with a lot of success.
Even though its practice hasn’t been that common in US hospitals, acupuncture is widely used for treating post-stroke conditions in most of the modern Asian countries. Apart from stroke rehabilitation, acupuncture is efficient in preventing many chronic degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The most common acupuncture type that’s used for stroke treatment is scalp acupuncture, which, as its name says, includes the use of thin needles to stimulate the areas of the scalp that lie over hyperfunctioning, atrophied, or injured brain tissue.
The stimulation of those areas increases blood flow, oxygenation, and leads to enhanced function of brain tissues. Scalp acupuncture, which has been practiced since 1960, has helped not only the people who dealt with stroke-caused conditions, but also those with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, TIA, cerebral palsy, and other severe diseases.
Treatment of stroke that includes acupuncture depends on various factors, among which the most important one is the type of stroke that the patient suffered from. Let’s see the following examples:
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment
The results of the latest acupuncture researches have shown that scalp acupuncture is a useful option for treating the consequences of hemorrhagic stroke.
Scalp acupuncture is quite an adequate choice for stroke recovery since it’s focused on stimulating and restoring affected brain tissue or retraining a healthy brain tissue to compensate for all the lost functions of damaged tissue.
When treating a hemorrhagic stroke, a practitioner must be sure that the patient’s condition is stable, which is usually one month after the stroke. It will take from several weeks to several months until the patient recovers.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment
The condition caused by an ischemic stroke can also be successfully treated with acupuncture. Namely, its analgesic effect, motor rehabilitation, stimulation of neuronal reorganization, and many other positive impacts are the reason why patients’ improvement is visible after the series of regular therapies.
It is recommended to implement acupuncture after stroke mostly because it has shown excellent results in cell proliferation in tissue damaged by ischemia, as well as in the regulation of cerebral blood flow, vital for a successful recovery.
A typical acupuncture session lasts for 30 minutes, it’s painless, and it can be performed either manually or electrically, depending on the condition.
Both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke can be effectively treated with scalp acupuncture, but it’s vital to know that improvements won’t be noticeable after the first session. It may pass several months until the patient is fully recovered, which is why it’s important to be persistent.
The Role of Healthy Food in Stroke Recovery
Most acupuncturists advise combining a healthy diet with regular therapies. Namely, it’s vital to eat food that contains natural fats, such as coconut oil and avocados – they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and good fats that provide your organism with vital nutrients.
Apart from that, you’re also advised to take the following supplements:
- Longvida Curcumin: This vitamin is rich in antioxidants, and it’s optimized for targeting of curcumin into blood and tissues, which keeps the body in good shape. Besides, it passes the blood-brain barrier to suppress pre-tangle that usually causes Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- NeuroActives brain sustain: It provides optimal brain function, supports overall brain health, memory recall, and, most importantly, provides nutrients to the brain that support anti-oxidative mechanisms.
- Krill Oil: Krill Oil is essential for helping to reverse and slow memory loss since it’s rich in phospholipids that humans usually become deficient in.
- High Oral Probiotic: It’s vital to provide a healthy gut environment since that’s the way of ensuring better utilization of supplements, medications, or foods.
Acupuncture for Stroke Recovery at Makari Wellness Brings Remarkable Outcomes
Returning to the lifestyle you used to live before the stroke isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but Makari Wellness gives its best to provide the patients with the most efficient stroke treatments that deliver remarkable results.
Our stroke recovery options are created upon the combination of contemporary Western and traditional Chinese medicine (Xing Nao Kai Qiao and Scalp Systems), which are some of the most effective methods in treating post-stroke conditions.