Acupuncture and Stroke Rehabilitation

We take strokes seriously and we know that the sooner you get treatment the better your prognosis is. Don't wait. Acupuncture has been successful for the rehabilitation of stroke patients for many years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in adults. The American Heart Association estimates that between 500,000 and 750,000 strokes occur in the U.S. each year, with approximately 150,000 dying from the stroke itself or from related complications.

After the onset of a stroke, during the recovery process, patients often show spasticity, a contraction of the muscle leading to restricted joint movement. As a result, physical therapists are limited to perform rehabilitation exercises, which in turn compromises a patient's recovery.

Acupuncture instantly decreases most spasticity and loosens up affected muscle groups, resulting in an increased range of motion. This therapy also helps strengthening muscles, allowing for a more stable movement. Rehabilitation becomes much easier and more effective for both therapists and patients.

Treatable Symptoms:

• Hemiplegia
• Aphasia
• Dyslalia & Aphagia (Difficulty swallowing)
• Central Facial Palsy
• Shoulder pain & partial dislocation
• Inversion of foot
• Constipation
• Dysuria (Difficulty in urination)
• Urinary incontinence
• Decubitus (Pressure sore, Bed sore)
• Cognitive disorder

Because different areas of the brain can be damaged during a stroke, no two stroke patients are entirely alike. So, treatment for stroke and its after-effects depends on the nature of the symptoms and the time since the stroke occurred. And regardless of whether or not we're talking about acupuncture, when getting treatment for the effects of stroke, time is critical. Just as stroke itself is life threatening and requires emergency attention, full recovery is more likely the sooner treatment can begin after the stroke has passed.

Stroke Management with Acupuncture

Treatment of stroke with acupuncture depends on the time since the stroke occurred. If the visit is within a couple days from the stroke, acupuncture treatment will be focused on harmonizing blood and lymph circulation to clear out edema and cell debris in the brain matter. For those who start treatment within the first couple weeks to a month after the stroke, treatment changes to focus on promoting neuronal growth, to help the brain create new neural connections and relearn activities lost from the stroke. Acupuncture points in the scalp are more likely to be chosen at this time. And for those who delay their treatment and start after the first month, treatment shifts again – this time focusing on creating new neural connections and helping re-calibrate muscle activity with what neurons have grown. This almost invariably means using electro-acupuncture, which is the running of electricity through inserted acupuncture needles, similar to a TENS unit.