No matter your take on the Beverly Hills 90210 era there’s no denying that the world lost an icon this week (March 4, 2019) when Luke Perry (now of Riverdale fame) passed away far too young (52) from a stroke. In typical “wake up call” fashion the event has adults of all ages scrambling online to find out how to prevent a stroke. While there are many lifestyle changes you can make to mitigate this risk, making physical therapy a part of your life can be one of the most positively impactful. Let’s find out how.
How Physical Therapy Can Help You Reduce the Risk of a Stroke
Physical Therapy Directly Addresses 5 of the 7 Preventions
Harvard University published a study years ago (updated more recently in 2018) that has become the primary reference for stroke prevention. The study details 7 steps to preventing a stroke, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Treat atrial fibrillation
- Treat diabetes
- Consume alcohol in moderation (as applicable)
- Quit smoking (as applicable)
Physical therapy can be applied to address the top five on this list. Some are obvious, such as the call to exercise more and lose weight, but the others bear some further insight.
For one, did you know that Swedish massage therapy can be applied to reduce high blood pressure? High blood pressure is also a risk factor for atrial fibrillation (on the list above), which is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atria that can lead to a stroke because when blood does not properly get pumped out of the heart it can pool and form a clot. A full service physical therapy clinic will offer patients access to compression stockings which can help improve blood flow through the veins and increase circulation and thus reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation. What about diabetes? Physical therapists promote cardio-respiratory fitness which has a direct impact in treating type 2 diabetes.
What about the other two risk factors? While physical therapy cannot directly address smoking and drinking, reports show that the role of a physical therapist in smoking cessation is growing, while a physical therapist’s call for greater health and wellness can also help patients come to terms with concerning alcohol consumption.
Relief from Your Sedentary Life
A sedentary life is one of the biggest precursors to a stroke. Most people know this, but very few recognize the fact that they too are living a sedentary life, thinking that it references inactive people who sit around on the coach all day. Do you go to the gym after work? Great, but it’s those working hours that may be killing your softly. Think about it, you may be sitting at a desk from six to eight hours a day while juggling a number of stressful situations. Your 20-30 minutes on the treadmill can’t compete with that.
A physical therapist can prescribe a wide range of exercises, stretches and movements customized to your unique needs. You can apply them in the workspace every 30 minutes and ultimately help prevent a stroke. You should also consider alternating with a standing desk. Worried about what your boss may say? Your physician or family doctor (and physical therapist!) will have no problem writing you a note to state that getting up from your desk is essential to your health. In fact, you can encourage executives to institute a program to ensure that this is worked into office protocol. Once they find out it will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line they will be easily swayed. You can also ask that the company bring in DIY physiotherapy equipment which will help with the prescribed exercises, movements, and stretches. View more on corporate wellness physiotherapy which can help you and your coworkers reduce the risk of a stroke, which also applies to those of you who run your own business and/or work from home.
Take your life into your hands today and take action against the threat of a stroke. Contact Absolute PhysioCare today to schedule a consultation at our Burnaby, Greater Vancouver BC clinic.
For more information about strokes, including causes, symptoms, and diagnosis, please reference HealthLinkBC’s stroke resource center.