Acupuncture for Stroke
Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer a stroke resulting in loss of function and quality of life. Here in the Southeastern United States, we are commonly referred to as the “Stroke Belt” due to the increasing rate of stroke risk factors which can increase the frequency and severity of a stroke. Much has been done to address these risk factors and decrease the incidence of stroke, however, too many people; many of them our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors have a life cut short by the debilitating effects of a stroke.
Modern medicine has made great strides in effectively treating the immediate effects of a stroke by emphasizing the need for immediate life saving treatments that quickly resolve the direct cause of the stroke. After being hospitalized, many people are given several months of physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. After completing therapy, many people are told by their health care practitioners that additional therapy will not be of benefit and any further improvements in function and quality of life are unlikely.
Complementary Stroke Therapy
However, in China most stroke patients are given the benefits of immediate clot-busting and anti-coagulation therapy, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, as well as acupuncture. The addition of acupuncture as a complementary stroke therapy can have the following benefits:
- Decreased paralysis and increased function
- Improved muscle strength
- Increased balance and coordination
- Improved speech, articulation and vocabulary identification
- Improvement in vision when there is dimness, blurring, double vision, or loss of sight
- Decreased depression and anxiety
- Improved quality of life
As with any stroke treatment, it is essential that therapy begins as soon as possible after the patient’s condition has been stabilized to achieve the most optimal results. However, at The Art of Acupuncture Wellness Center we have worked with patients who received acupuncture 18-24 months after their initial stroke who still continue to make great functional improvements that have greatly benefited their quality of life. These treatments generally consist of several months of treatment to improve strength and increase function. Many patients choose to continue with maintenance treatments to help them continue their functional gains.