Upper Extremities Vs. Lower Extremities in Stroke Patients
In my experience as a physical therapist the most common of the cases we handle are stroke patients. Stoke is caused by a vascular infarction in the brain of the patient. There are different manifestations of stroke. There are patients whose upper extremities become weaker than their lower extremities after the episode of stroke. Others show the opposite manifestation.
In the brain we have what is called the circle of willis, a vascular system which provides blood supply for oxygenation for the brain. These major blood vessels are the anterior cerebral artery, middle cerebral artery, posterior cerebral artery and the posterior inferior cerebellar arteries. If the anterior cerebellar artery is the one affected by the stroke then, it is lower extremities, which become weaker. If the middle cerebellar artery is affected then, it is the upper extremities, which are more affected.
Based on our observation, there is a big difference in the recovery rate of these two types of stroke. Those patients whose upper extremities are more affected are the ones who recover their walking skills faster than their hand functions. Sometimes there is only a small percentage of patients under this category who fully recover their fine movements. Patients whose lower extremities are affected regain fast their hand functions, but have a longer recover period before they regain their walking skills. With the recovery of the upper extremities, the lower extremities follow.
Many among our patients who regain their arm functions have a greater chance of recovering their other bodily functions. The status of recovery of a patient still depends on several factors and remains unpredictable to say the least. There are also patients with a fast recovery period regardless whether it is the upper or the lower extremities which are affected. There are those patients who have a poor rate of recovery whatever extremities were affected. It is still best to consult your orthopedic physician.
When you or your loved ones suffer from stroke, it is wisest to begin physical rehabilitation early on after the orthopedic physician issue his clearance. Time is of the essence insofar as patient’s recovery is concerned. We at rehab experts are here to provide your physical therapy needs at the comfort of your homes. We provide physical therapy home service in different parts of Metro Manila including Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, Mandaluyong City, San Juan City, Makati City, Taguig City and Manila. We have extensive experience in handling stroke patients.