The Role of Physiotherapy in Stroke Rehabilitation

The Role of Physiotherapy in Stroke Rehabilitation

The Role of Physiotherapy in Stroke Rehabilitation

Welcome to our article about post-stroke rehabilitation and our role in your journey as physiotherapists. At St Leonards Physiotherapy, we recognise the challenges individuals face after experiencing a stroke. Our commitment is to provide professional support through evidence-based physiotherapy tailored to each patient’s unique needs. If you or a loved one are on the road to recovery after a stroke, know that we’re here to support you every step of the way. Call us for an appointment on (02) 9438 1782 In the meantime, let’s delve into the details so you’re empowered with knowledge during your recovery.

Why Physiotherapy?

The Role of Physiotherapy in Stroke Rehabilitation

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is disrupted, leading to damage in certain brain areas. Since your brain is your body’s command central this disruption is bad news for movement. Potential impairments include alterations in muscle tone, sensation, proprioception, balance, strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and motor control. Physiotherapy after a stroke focuses on restoring function and enhancing quality of life by addressing those challenges systematically.

Restoring Functional Mobility

After a stroke, movement impairments like reduced strength and flexibility hinder daily activities. Physiotherapists employ various techniques to help with that:

  • Joint Compressions and Deep Pressure: These techniques stimulate proprioceptors, enhancing sensory feedback and facilitating improved muscle activation and control. They are crucial tools in managing stroke induced spasticity. (The permanent contraction of muscles.) 
  • Hydrotherapy and Cryotherapy: Hydrotherapy’s buoyancy aids in movement, while cryotherapy reduces muscle spasms and inflammation, promoting relaxation and pain relief.
  • Static Stretches: By elongating muscle fibres, static stretching exercises improve joint range of motion and flexibility.
  • Targeted Exercises: to rebuild strength in affected muscles.

Enhancing Balance and Coordination

Post-stroke, compromised balance and coordination significantly impact daily life. Physiotherapy employs focused exercises to help with that.

  • Balance Exercises: We will design exercises challenging balance control, utilising varied sensory inputs to enhance equilibrium.
  • Coordination Training: Specific drills and functional movements synchronise muscle actions, improving movement patterns and control.

These exercises aim to minimise fall risks and instil confidence in individuals as they engage in routine activities. This all sounds very serious – because we take your recovery seriously. But the work itself can be fun. You might be surprised to find video games, tai-chi, and group dance classes included in a personalised rehabilitation plan!

Regaining Independence

Regaining independence forms a core aspect of stroke rehabilitation. So, we focus on functional training; designing exercises centred around crucial activities like walking, bed mobility, and device use. These tasks aim to enhance self-reliance and confidence in daily tasks. These exercises can and should be started immediately after your emergency treatment. Maintaining and even improving your fitness follows. 

Preventing Secondary Complications

Following a stroke, individuals may face secondary complications, like contractures and bed sores. Muscle weakness or prolonged immobility after a stroke can lead to contractures, where muscles and tissues shorten, restricting joint mobility. Through targeted exercises that stretch and lengthen affected tissues, restoring flexibility and improving joint mobility, we help prevent and alleviate contractures. Additionally, our interventions optimise blood circulation and skin health, reducing the risk of pressure sores (from prolonged inactivity in the same position.) So, your exercises and treatments not only enhance functional recovery but mitigate the impact of these complications. That’s a two for one deal you should take!


Recovery after a stroke is a gradual process. At St Leonards Physiotherapy, our commitment to evidence-based physiotherapy lies in the meeting of science and compassion. We understand that each step toward recovery is unique. Reach out to us today on (02) 9438 1782 to schedule an appointment so we can tailor a rehabilitation program to you and your individual needs.

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