by Jamie E. Gilliam, MTI
A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted by the blockage of a blood vessel, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts (1). Every year, approximately 795,000 strokes occur in America. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in US, killing more than 130,000 Americans every year (2).
Treatment and recovery options depend on what kind of stroke has occurred. The most common type of stroke, accounting for 87% of all strokes, is the ischemic stroke (3). Ischemic strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is blocked, usually caused by a blood clot. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, the leaking blood causes pressure on the brain, and affected areas become damaged. A third type of stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke,” differs from other types because the blood flow to the brain is only blocked for a short amount of time. TIAs are warning signs of a future stroke.
Depending on the severity of the stroke, a survivor may be left with brain damage and life-long disabilities. A recovery period may be weeks, months, or even years. According to the CDC, some typical issues following stroke include trouble with thinking and attention, depression, paralysis (on one or both sides of the body) or other motor control deficits, and problems with understanding or forming speech (4). To address these issues, rehabilitation begins in the hospital immediately following a stroke. A stroke rehabilitation team can include, but is not limited to, a neurologist, psychotherapist, speech, physical, occupational, and music therapist.
Based on areas of need, music therapists may work on sensorimotor, speech/language, and/or cognitive goals. Neurologic music therapy (NMT) is a model for music therapy in medicine that is especially effective in stroke rehabilitation (5). NMT techniques have been found to help patients with non-fluent expressive aphasia by rerouting speech pathways around damaged areas of the brain (6). Music is also used during gait training to help stroke survivors improve their ability to walk (7). Music therapy has shown to have a positive effect on mood in patients following a stroke and enhances cognitive recovery (8,9).
To learn more about how music therapy can help stroke survivors, or to invite us to speak to your organization about music therapy, please contact us.
(1) Stroke, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/index.htm
(2) Kochanek K.D., Xu J.Q., Murphy S.L., Arias E. (2014) Mortality in the United States, 2013. NCHS Data Brief, 178. Hyattsville, MD: NCHS, CDC, DHHS
(3) Mozzafarian D., Benjamin E.J., Go A.S., Arnett D.K., Blaha M.J., Cushman M., et al. (2016) Heart disease and stroke statistics—2016 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 133(4). e38–360.
(4) Stroke Recovery, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/recovery.htm
(5) Thaut, M.H. & McIntosh, G.C. (2014) Current Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Reports 106(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40141-014-0049-y
(6) Breier, J. I., et al. (2010). Changes in maps of language activity activation following melodic intonation therapy using magnetoencephalography: Two case studies. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 32(3). 309-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803390903029293
(7) Roerdink M., Lamoth C.J.C., van Kordelaar J., Elich P, Konijnenbelt M., Kwakkel G., Beek P.J. (2009) Rhythm perturbations in acoustically paced treadmill walking after stroke. Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair. 23, 668–78.
(8) Kim, D. S., Park, Y. G., Choi, J. H., Im, S.-H., Jung, K. J., Cha, Y. A., … Yoon, Y. H. (2011). Effects of Music Therapy on Mood in Stroke Patients. Yonsei Medical Journal, 52(6), 977–981. http://doi.org/10.3349/ymj.2011.52.6.977
(9) Sarkamo, T., et. al. (2008). Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke. Brain, Mar 131(3), 866-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awn013
Allison G. Hingley, MM, MT-BC
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