What is the role of physical therapy in the treatment of vertebrobasilar stroke?

Updated: Aug 09, 2021
  • Author: Vladimir Kaye, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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The physical therapist is responsible for retraining of gross motor skills, such as gait, balance, transfers, bed mobility, and wheelchair mobility. The physical or occupational therapist may be involved with assessing the patient for the proper wheelchair and seating system.

The physical therapist also develops a PT program and instructs the patient in general strengthening and range of motion. Training of the patient and family members in the use of lower extremity orthotics may be necessary to provide for functional mobility.

Vestibular evaluation and training are very important, due to a high prevalence of vestibular and cerebellar involvement in vertebrobasilar strokes. Patients often need extensive balance and gait training. Evaluation always should begin with a detailed and focused history. A premorbid vestibular status determination is of great importance, because dizziness is the third most frequent complaint during physician visits from patients aged 65 years and the most frequent complaint from patients aged 75 years and older.

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