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January Is International Quality of Life Month

Having a good quality of life after a stroke is an important healthcare outcome. Coping effectively with stroke-related impairments plays an integral role in the overall recovery process.

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and many stroke survivors struggle with moderate to severe disability. Nearly 60 percent of stroke survivors experience spasticity, which significantly affects their quality of life. Spasticity is a condition in which muscles become tight and stiff, which makes movement, especially of the arms or legs, difficult or uncontrollable.

Treatment and Care Options for Spasticity

Rehabilitation and Stretching

Rehabilitation, such as physical or occupational therapy, is important in the recovery process. Also, recommended exercises addressing range-of-motion issues and tight muscles will reduce dependence on others.

Oral Medications

Some medications act directly on affected muscles while others act on the central nervous system to decrease spasticity.

Injections

Nerve block injections block the chemicals that make muscles tight. They target only the specific limbs or muscle groups that are affected by spasticity.

Surgery

Age, prior overall health and current condition are major factors in deciding whether to have surgery.

Intrathecal Baclofen PumpSM (ITB Therapy)

ITB therapy has been shown to benefit people who have severe spasticity from stroke. It is a programmable pump and catheter surgically implanted in the body and delivers medication to the fluid around the spinal cord.

There is no “one” solution for everyone. Arm yourself with information about all available treatments and discuss your options with your healthcare team, including medical staff, family members and caregivers.

Meet Our Ambassador

Photo of Julie Hyman

Julie is speaking out about improving quality of life after a stroke.

Julie  

Resources

» Visit the Post-stroke Spasticity Resource Center

» Download the Mobility After Stroke brochure

» Visit Release Your Potential

Faces of Stroke campaign is supported by funding provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Allergan, Inc., Medtronic, Inc., Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., and Genentech Inc.

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National Stroke Association

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