A stroke can sometimes cause paralysis or a loss of function, depending on how long the brain suffers a lack of blood flow and which part was affected. The most common effect of stroke is hemiparesis or the paralysis of one side of the body. However, hemiparesis is not a “static phenomena.” As the field of neurorecovery evolves, research is demonstrating some degrees of motor recovery are possible depending on the severity of the stroke and the type of recovery program chosen. Clinical studies on central motor neuroplasticity support the role of active, goal oriented training programs.
CORE Program Focus Areas
Functional Electrical Stimulation
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is starting to gain more attention for the benefits stroke survivors are seeing. Research has shown the addition of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to stroke recovery programs can improve lower-limb strength, mobility, ambulation ability, walking speed and activities in daily living. Furthermore, studies with the spinal cord injury population have concluded a Functional Electrical Stimulation program reverses muscle atrophy, increases circulation, maintains or increases joint range of motion, reduces the incidence of urinary and bladder infections, osteoporosis prevention and markedly improves cardiovascular health. For stroke survivors in particular one of the major benefits is the reduction of spasticity, which gives individuals a better ability to control those muscles.
CORE offers the latest in functional electrical stimulation (FES) technology, and a variety of FES Program options.
Range of Motion/Flexibility Training
Range of motion and flexibility training for individuals with any degree of paralysis will help improve circulation and keep joints and tendons flexible to prevent limb contractures, pain and spasticity. For stroke survivors, range of motion exercises can also help with motor re-learning for the affected limb.
The name ‘CORE’ literally comes from our repeated mantra that a strong core is essential. The core is what stabilizes the entire neuromusculoskeletal system. Clients with neurological disorders, in particular, benefit from balance and proprioception exercises. This involves purposely creating instability, which forces the body to react and therefore strengthens the supporting muscles and reinforces the neural component. Studies have shown balance training is more effective at improving the standing balance of stroke subjects than conventional programs without sensory manipulation. Balance training can help increase function, reduce reaction times to prevent injury and increase positional awareness.
In addition to balance training, posture is also important to stabilizing the neuromusculoskeletal system. Poor posture, often a result of sitting in a wheelchair, sets up and exacerbates muscle imbalances, causing pain and fatigue. Core strengthening exercises and proper postural alignment will be utilized during every aspect of the CORE treatment program to allow for an optimal workout and to increase function and safety while decreasing pain.
Whole Body Vibration Training
Whole body vibration (WBV) training is implemented through the use of a vibrating platform on which static poses are held or dynamic exercises are performed. In 2004, the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation published a study concluding whole body vibration training is a promising option to improve proprioceptive control of posture in stroke survivors. After just a short session, participants in the study demonstrated better balance and an increase in their weight-shifting speed.
Muscular Strength and Endurance Training
CORE incorporates muscular strength and endurance training into every program to promote functional gains, build muscle mass and increase independence, which also improves the overall quality of life.
Cardiovascular conditioning, regardless of injury, is essential to maintaining a healthy heart muscle and to having the endurance to meet daily activity needs. CORE incorporates interval training for an effective and efficient aerobic workout.
In relation to stroke survivors, studies indicate participants who regularly participate in aerobic training can < improve their aerobic capacity and submaximal exercise systolic blood pressure response. Sensorimotor improvement has also shown to be related to the improvement in aerobic capacity.