40% of people who experience a stroke will have some degree of spasticity as a sequel (tense and stiff muscles) and will require rehabilitation and physical medicine treatmentand, pointed out the president of the Spanish Society for Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (SERMEF) Carolina De Miguel on the occasion of the celebration of World Stroke Day on October 29.
Each year in Spain approximately 120,000 people suffer a stroke. A) Yes, annually about 50,000 new people have rigid or tight muscles in the upper limbs (such as the arms or wrists) or lower limbs (legs) after a stroke. This consequence is called spasticity.
spasticity It is a symptom that reflects a central nervous system disorder that causes resistance to movement in the muscles, causing pain and stiffness and restricting the mobility of the joints of the extremities, such as the ankles, knees, wrists and hands.
The highest representative of rehabilitation doctors in Spain pointed out that «without adequate rehabilitation and medical treatment Physically, this stiffness can affect the ability to walk, sit in a chair, roll over in bed, or grasp objects with the hand. “It also interferes with personal care or hygiene activities. Therefore, it has a very clear impact on the quality of life,” he added.
Patients describe it as a feeling of tightness, expressing these feelings as a stiff leg, the inability to open the arm, or a feeling of being frozen. “It is one of the most common consequences of a stroke. When one thinks of the effects of a stroke, they always think of muscle stiffness called spasticity. You have to give it a name”, the president of SERMEF showed.
De Miguel emphasized that rehabilitation team necessary for the adequate treatment of spasticity must consist of “a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation who coordinates a multidisciplinary group of experts (physiotherapist, neurologist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and neuropsychologist) and who also works together to achieve goals previously identified in cooperation with the patient and his family” .
“Rehabilitation aims at integration into the social, work and family environment of patients who need a rehabilitation process, and in the case of brain damage due to a stroke, the goal is for people to be as independent as possible and to have the highest possible level of functionality, within the limitations caused by the injury,” he emphasized. expert.
Because of all this, he insists that after the acute phase of a stroke in which life can be threatened, after stabilization, the patient “should go to a rehabilitation doctor to assess the possible consequences and determine the treatment”.
“Many people take it for granted that they have to live with these restrictions for life, which is not the case, so they don’t go for consultations or miss treatments. There are specific treatments to improve the quality of their lives, but the involvement of the patient and his environment is necessary,” he emphasized.