According to the results of a new study, horseback riding may prove to be quite a useful therapy method for people recovering from a stroke. It could help them regain some of the balance and mobility lost following a brain attack. This could also be a long-term, pleasant, such therapy. Also, the team found that a music-and-rhythm therapy could have similar effects.
Horseback Riding Proven Efficient in Late-Phase Stroke Recovery
Researchers looked to determine if ‘alternative’ therapies, ones outside of what is currently available in the traditional stroke rehabilitation process, could be just as beneficial.
To analyze this, the group of scientists employed the help of stroke patients in late-phase recovery. None of the participants had any severe disabilities. However, they did have some lingering problems with their essential functions, such as memory, balance, or walking issues.
Then, the researchers assigned them to either take up horseback riding or follow a music-and-rhythm therapy. According to observations, many of the participants saw improvements after taking up these therapies.
“A very important message is that it’s never too late to improve functions, to learn or relearn, because of the capacity of our brains,” stated Dr. Michael Nilsson.
He is the senior study researcher and a professor and rehabilitation medicine specialist at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Stroke rehabilitation treatments are taken up as soon as the patient is stable. The therapies employed depend on the damage done by the attack. While some require physical therapy, others may need language or speech therapies, for example.
But while short-term stroke recovery methods have been thoroughly studied, not the same can be said about last-phase ones, state specialists.
Patients involved in the study agreed to meet with therapists for their assigned therapy twice a week over 12 weeks. After six months, both music-and-rhythm and horseback riding treatment participants were showing improvements in their balance and mobility.
The people also reported feeling better. All the results were compared to a control group, which used standard care.
Although the study was small, researchers claim that its results are “exciting”. The team and other specialists as well point out the need for more research and studies in nontraditional approaches to last-phase stroke recovery.
Current research findings are available in the journal Stroke.
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