Stroke is one of the sneaky adversaries that snoops around members of the over-60 set, often pouncing when least expected. It can strike the nice old gentleman as he sits on a park bench feeding the pigeons or it may fell the executive bent over his putter, trying to sink the ball in the 18th hole in hopes of ending another golf outing triumphantly. A stroke can wipe out the lifelong athlete in the midst of that big senior meet.
According to statistical averages, a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury will radically change the lives of 116 Americans this hour. Injuries to the central nervous system (CNS) can be devastating to the injured person and his or her loved ones and caregivers. The brain and spinal cord, so carefully protected by the three layers of meninges and the bony shells of the cranium and spinal canal, are extraordinarily vulnerable to damage if those protective layers are breeched by a blood clot, a gunshot wound, a motor vehicle accident, or other trauma.
Women suffering even mild depression are at greater risk of heart attack, according to researchers at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The four-year study reviewed almost 100,000 women aged 50 to 79. Women with no history of heart disease who experienced sub-clinical depression (based on inquiries about things such as crying spells and feelings of being disliked) had a 50 percent greater risk of dying of a heart attack during the four-year period than women who were not depressed.
When working with stroke victims it is important to realize that in the case of a spastic stroke, the muscles are not out of commission, but they are out of control. The balance between flexors and extenders is gone; so is the wonderful phenomenon of muscle groups that, in a fantastic choreography, can bring the most incredible variation of strength and direction of movement to bear on the most mundane moves.
Basis for Massage Therapy
The question comes up occasionally — What makes massage so special that we want to put it into patient care? The skeptic talks of placebo effect, while the massage junkie talks of the power of touch. Sometimes we ourselves are surprised at our results. We look at our hands and note they are remarkable tools, but we know that so are everyone else’s.
A Crabbèd Old Woman
The body it crumbles. Grace and vigor depart.
There now is a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the pain, and I remember the joys,
And I’m living and loving all over again.
And I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing will last.
So open your eyes, nurse, open and see
Not a crabbèd old woman,
Look closer: See me.
A new study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found the brain has the ability to heal itself after a serious stroke (cortical reorganization). Published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the study reveals the brain’s plasticity with regards to a debilitating attack which often results in damaged and/or malfunctioning limbs. Researchers studied 13 stroke survivors for 2–3 weeks and invoked rehabilitation therapy. The therapy (constraint-induced movement) requires the patient to not use the unaffected, or “good,” limb by restraining it.
A shiatsu massage machine in which clients place their head between two heavy rotating balls has caused arterial problems in two cases, according to Reuters Health. Both incidents seem to have occurred once the machine’s twisting action placed pressure upon the neck, dissecting the carotid artery (and/or damaging surrounding tissue) and, thus, reducing the flow of blood to the head. Along with a headache, the nerve damage caused by the machine left both clients with a droopy eyelid — now permanent. Worse, the machine could have triggered a stroke.