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Treatment Options

With help, you can manage your physical challenges after a stroke. What works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to talk to a Stroke Rehabilitation Specialist to find the right treatment plan for you. Selecting a treatment begins with an open discussion of your goals in managing your physical challenges, which may include:15

  • Relieving your symptoms
  • Improving your ability to do daily activities
  • Maintaining or improving how you move

There are a number of options available to you, which are briefly summarized below.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy are designed to increase strength and coordination, maintain or improve movement, and improve comfort. Therapy may include: stretching and strengthening exercises; temporary braces or casts; limb positioning; and electrical stimulation.15 See examples of exercises

Medications

There are a number of different medications that treat spasticity.15 These may be used in combination with other treatments, especially if your symptoms are affecting daily functioning or sleep.

Type of Medication How They Work
Muscle relaxants Decrease the activity of nerves that cause muscle spasticity. The overall effect is muscle relaxation.16
Skeletal muscle relaxants Act specifically on skeletal muscles and reduce excessive muscle contractions.17,18
Benzodiazepines
(anti-anxiety medications/sedatives)
Act on the central nervous system to reduce muscle spasms.19
Botulinum neurotoxin Muscle relaxant that is injected into the muscles or deep into the skin. It works by partially blocking the nerve impulses to any muscles that have been injected and reduces excessive contractions of these muscles.20

Surgery

In some patients, surgery may be considered to help improve post-stroke recovery. This includes patients who:

  • Can’t tolerate any medication
  • Still have significant pain even after trying a number of less invasive procedures
  • Have developed permanent shortening of tendons21,22

Talk to your doctor to learn more about any of these
treatments. He or she may recommend you see a Stroke
Rehabilitation Specialist to discuss your treatment plan.

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