Neurological Disorders

Hundreds of millions of people are affected worldwide by neurological disorders. Neurological conditions are disorders that affect the central and peripheral nervous systems, which are made up of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. There are more than 600 neurological disorders, some of which include: Alzheimer’s, stroke, neuropathy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and migraines. Neurological conditions are caused by a disturbance of the brain, spinal cord, neurological pathway, or even a single neuron. As a result of this disturbance, neurological symptoms can occur. Some causes of neurological disorders include injury or trauma, genetics, infection, nutrition, or environmental causes. Neurological problems may manifest emotionally and physically. Emotional symptoms of a neurological disorder may be seen as mood swings, depression, or delusions. Some of the physical symptoms of a neurological disorder include muscle weakness, paralysis, loss of sensation, seizures, cognitive impairment, and pain.

Stroke and post-stroke effects

The World Health Organization reports that 15 million people worldwide suffer from a stroke every year. A stroke is a neurological disease, which affects the brain and often the whole body. During a stroke, there is an interruption of blood supply to the brain. The most common type of stroke is caused by a blockage of the arteries, which is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel that causes bleeding into brain tissue. Symptoms of a stroke include: weakness or difficulty speaking, seeing or walking. Sometime there may be a headache, but often strokes are painless. Strokes occur rapidly and are considered a medical emergency and require immediate treatment.

There are often serious effects following a stroke. The brain controls various parts of the body and when a stroke occurs, blood is obstructed from the brain and inhibits the brain from performing its function on particular parts of the body. Although every stroke is different, they have a tendency to affect people in similar ways. The effect of a stroke depends on where in the brain the stroke occurred and home much damage was done to the brain tissue. Some of the effects of a stroke include: paralysis, problems with speech and language, vision problems, memory loss, and changes in behavior.

Can acupuncture help for post-stroke recovery?

While western emergency medicine is required in the event of a stroke, acupuncture can be helpful for preventing a stroke as well as treating the after-effects of a stroke. Acupuncture has proven to be very effective in the treatment of stroke-related conditions. Two weeks following a stroke, acupuncture therapy can begin for post-stroke recovery. Time is of the essence when treating the effects of a stroke, so early intervention is critical. Acupuncture helps to target parts of the body that were specifically affected by the stroke, helping to improve mobility and facilitate healing. Acupuncture also has an effect on circulation and can help to improve blood flow to the areas that were most affected by the stroke. Studies show that acupuncture opens blood vessels to increase blood flow and decreases clots and inflammation. This is helpful in the healing process and in stroke-prevention. Acupuncture is very effective at treating post-stroke conditions, but it is important to have frequent treatment. For best results for post-stroke recovery, it is encouraged to be treated with acupuncture 2-3 times per week if not daily. If done correctly, studies suggest that following a stroke, acupuncture can help to: improve spasticity, improve swallowing, improve balance, increase muscle tonicity and strength, and even improve paralysis. There are many different techniques that can be useful for treating post-stroke conditions, including scalp acupuncture and electro-acupuncture. There are other modalities including meditation, qi gong, herbal therapy, and nutritional modifications which also may be helpful in stroke recovery.

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