Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Stroke-Aneurysm Awareness: 11 Effective Treatments

Learn about the 11 integrative methods for treating stroke and aneurysm

May is Stroke-Aneurysm Awareness Month. As the combined fifth leading cause of death in the US, they are both cardiovascular diseases resulting in acquired injury to the brain (versus a traumatic brain injury that is caused by an external force). To better understand the differences and the symptoms, please review my web page on Stroke/Aneurysm.

As a result of my own acquired brain injury, I am both passionate and committed to helping people understand how to regain their life after a brain injury, including a stroke or aneurysm. Halted speech, right side weakness, memory and concentration problems are just a few of the symptoms that I myself had suffered from for over 7 years. I tried many forms of treatment and discovered that, along with changing my diet, the methods below truly do work, especially in an integrative program.

Stroke and Aneurysm Statistics

There are an estimated 6 million people in the United States who have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people. Every 18 seconds there is a rupture, resulting in over 300,000 acquired brain injuries. In comparison, each year over 750,000 people sustain a stroke, or clot, to the brain.

Signs of Having a Stroke

On the Stroke Association website,

FAST is a helpful mnemonic which stands for

F= Face Drooping

A= Arm Weakness

S= Speech Difficulty

T= Time to call 911.

This is extremely good advice, but I also want to make an important point that for some people, these symptoms are also seen in atypical migraine headaches that don’t have accompanying pain. Many doctors are not aware of this connection therefore it is best to err on the side of caution and call 911.

Source: stroke/flickr

11 Effective Treatments for Stroke / Aneurysm

Treatments for the symptoms of a stroke/aneurysm are usually done in out-patient rehabilitation facilities. It is extremely important that the various team members embody an integrative approach to treatment to ensure optimal benefits from each treatment.

1. Speech and Language Therapy provides services to improve the broad and complex functions of speech sound production, resonance, voice, fluency, language and feeding/swallowing.

2. Cognitive Therapy provides services in attention, memory, problem solving, executive functioning.

3. Physical Therapy improves movement and functioning of joints and limbs with a customized treatment program encompassing exercises that help improve range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, endurance, flexibility, balance, motor skills, and general mobility. Treatment may also involve massage therapy, heat or water therapy.

4. CranioSacral Therapy is a technique based on cranial osteopathy and the theory that the natural movements of the skull bones come from the membrane that lines our nervous system structures leading to the brain and spinal cord. Improving the natural rhythmic movement helps to improve brain functioning.

5. Occupational Therapy is designed to assess the function and potential complications related to the movement of upper extremities, daily living skills, cognition, vision, and perception. Occupational therapy can also be used to help brain-injured adults improve their fine motor and social skills. It can also be used to teach clients new techniques for managing everyday responsibilities such as shopping and household chores, as well as new ways of performing various job skills and how to avoid re-injury.

6. Psychotherapy provides techniques to increase self-awareness through thought, feeling or action. Psychotherapy can increase the sense of well-being, help manage discomfort or distress and help deal with behavioral or emotional problems and psychological reactions to life events. Insight Therapy is a form of psychotherapy using traditional talk therapy to gain insight into and understanding of an individual’s to help modify how he or she feels. Freudian and Jungian therapy can be extremely useful in treating depression, anxiety, trauma and self-exploration. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people change how they think, feel, or act in order to improve their mood, reduce stress, or achieve other important health and life goals.

7. Psychopharmacology, also referred to as drug or medication therapy, includes the use of medications to help change or regulate mental activity, mood, and behavior. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents are among the most commonly psychiatrist-prescribed psychopharmacologic drugs.

8. Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine centered around restoring and maintaining the body’s qi (chi) or natural energy flow. Often when these energies become weak, disturbed or out of balance, we experience physical and emotional symptoms.

9. Reiki is a method of energy healing developed in Japan in 1922 and currently practiced all over the world. Reiki utilizes a natural universal energy that helps to balance and heal at all levels. It is especially effective for stress reduction, increasing overall vitality, and treating injuries. It can be used independently to maintain health or conjunction with other medical or therapeutic techniques.

10. Biofeedback is a type of behavioral medicine that uses information gained from monitoring skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and other body conditions to promote control over the normally involuntary nervous system through conditioning and relaxation. All employ some type of computer or monitoring device, along with electronic sensors to give information about what is going on in the body.

There are four types of biofeedback:

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures changes in heart rate and is one of the core methods for teaching people self-control over their involuntary nervous system including blood pressure.

Thermal measures skin temperature as seen in a “mood ring”

Muscular (EMG)

Neurological (Electroencephalogram EEG), also called neurotherapy or neurobiofeedback or neurofeedback, is a technology-based learning technique that uses a computer to give individuals information about their brainwave patterns in the form of EEG activity. When the brain is not functioning properly, evidence of this usually shows up in EEG activity. Re-educating the brain to make voluntary changes via computerized graphic displays and auditory signals encourages a change in mental state and more effective brain function.

11. Water therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed while submersed in water. The hydrostatic (passive) and hydrodynamic (active) properties of water provide an optimal environment for safe and effective therapy and conditioning. With little or no weight bearing in the water, the injured, or those whose physical strength and endurance has deteriorated, are able to return to desired activities quickly and safely.

Remember: There is a Way!® Dr. Diane® Copyright© 2015 Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.