40% of people who have a stroke will have some degree of spasticity as a sequel (tight and rigid muscles) and will require rehabilitation and physical medicine treatmenta, as pointed out by the president of the Spanish Society of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (SERMEF), Carolina De Miguel, on the occasion of the celebration of World Stroke Day on October 29.
Around 120,000 people suffer a stroke in Spain every year. A) Yes, every year about 50,000 new people have rigid or tight muscles in the upper limbs (such as the hands or wrists) or lower limbs (legs) after suffering a stroke. This consequence is called spasticity.
spasticity It is a symptom that reflects a disorder of the central nervous system that causes resistance to movement in the muscles, causing pain and stiffness and limiting movement of the joints of the extremities, such as the ankles, knees, wrists and hands.
The largest representative of rehabilitation doctors in Spain stressed that “without the proper treatment of rehabilitation and medicine Physically, this stiffness can influence the ability to walk, sit up in a chair, turn over in bed or grasp objects with the hand. “It also hinders personal care or hygiene activities. It therefore has a very clear impact on the quality of life,” he added.
Patients describe it as a feeling of tightness, expressing such sensations as a stiff leg, inability to open the hand, or a feeling of freezing. “It’s one of the most common sequelae of a stroke. When someone thinks of the aftermath of a stroke, they always think of that muscle stiffness called spasticity. We have to give it a name”, showed the president of SERMEF.
De Miguel pointed out that the rehabilitation team necessary to adequately treat spasticity must be composed of “a doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation who coordinates a multidisciplinary group of expert professionals (physiotherapist, neurologist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and neuropsychologist) and who also works together to achieve the objectives previously identified in collaboration with the patient and his family.
“The objective of rehabilitation is the integration into the social, professional and family environment of patients who need a rehabilitation process, and in the case of brain damage due to a stroke, the objective is that the people are as independent as possible and have the best possible level of functionality, within the limits caused by the injury,” the expert stressed.
For all these reasons, he insists that after passing the acute phase of the stroke in which life can be threatening, once stabilized, the patient “must go to the rehabilitation doctor to evaluate the possible sequelae and establish a treatment”.
“A lot of people take it for granted that they have to live with these lifelong limitations when they don’t, and they don’t go to a consultation or miss their treatments. There are specific treatments to improve their quality of life, but the involvement of the patient and his environment is necessary,” he stressed.
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