Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability among adults in the United States. A stroke is the sudden loss of neurological function caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain. This breaks vital connections between one’s muscles and brain, which can result in loss of mobility, weakness, paralysis, poor balance, and many more impairments. Different areas of the brain are responsible for certain actions, sensations, and more. These areas are supplied by different arteries. Therefore, depending on where the interruption of blood flow occurs, will cause impairments to the body based on what area of the brain is receiving a lack of blood. Also, the side of the brain affected plays a role in what impairments may occur. 

The anterior cerebral artery (ACA) supplies blood to the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and as well as subcortical structures like the basal ganglia. Occlusion of this has been known to cause urinary incontinence, weak contralateral lower extremity with partial or complete sensory loss, and confusion. The middle cerebral artery (MCA) supplies the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, and subcortical structures like the putamen and internal capsule. In contrast to the ACA, occlusion of the MCA typically affects the upper extremities more than the lower. Other impairments due to an occlusion of the MCA include contralateral hemiplegia with sensory loss, visual defects, ataxia, aphasia, etc. The posterior cerebral artery (PCA) supplies the occipital lobe, inferior temporal lobe, upper brainstem, midbrain, and diencephalon. Occlusion of the PCA may cause contralateral sensory loss, visual defects, involuntary movements, contralateral hemiplegia, etc. 

With these arteries leading to both sides of the brain, certain impairments are commonly seen depending on which side of the brain the occlusion occurred on. For instance, an occlusion or lesion on the right hemisphere commonly causes impulsive behavior style, difficulty to express negative emotions, memory impairments, disturbances in processing nonverbal stimuli, etc. Furthermore, left hemisphere occlusion or lesion demonstrates difficulties in communication in a sequential manner, cautious behavior style, difficulty producing language, etc. 

No matter the type of stroke, physical therapy rehabilitation is a major part of the recovery process. It’s common for post-stroke patients to focus on restoring movement, strength and preventing problems that may occur after a stroke. Each patient is designed their own custom plan of care that is focused on reaching their specific goals at Movement Physiotherapy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *