Stroke recovery

Stroke recovery happens as soon as the disease process is under control. The brain starts to slowly respond to the damage done to it and will alter or change its way of functioning to accommodate for the loss or death of parts. Caregivers and patients need to understand that stroke recovery is slow and unpredictable.

How the brain repairs itself is still largely a mystery. Doctors, nurses, and therapists can only guess at how a patient will respond according to the location and severity of stroke. There may be days of remarkable recovery for the stroke patient, and then there may be days of great loss. It is during this time that caregivers, friends, and family must find joy in the smallest of gains in your loved one. The family gives us a sense of belonging, completeness, and purpose in life.

Family members suffering from stroke need more than ever to be connected to family. Stroke survivors may not be able to immediately resume their previous roles, but still need to be included. In our attempts not to leave them out, there are times when we as African-Americans swing too far the other way.

We may give too much family control to stroke survivors, not thinking of their limitations. This is painfully true when the stroke survivor is the leader or elder of the family.

When grandparents or parents are involved, adult children may allow the stroke survivor to dictate their wants, versus what everyone knows is best for them. In many cases, the thought of confrontation with a grandparent or parent is unwanted. The respect shown to African-American family elders is absolute. You do not argue or disagree with what they want, say, or do. This is how many people in the culture are raised. This type of upbringing can lead to issues of respect versus disrespect when it comes to important things like safety.

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In trying to adjust to the needs of the stroke survivor, changes in family and home may occur. Family members may have to decide for the survivor where he or she should live throughout their recovery. This is not an easy decision as it affects not only the survivor, but also the household of the family member the survivor goes to live with. Family interactions, functions, and routines will change in response to the survivor being there. There will be more demands on the household emotionally, physically, and economically.

These demands will directly affect everyone in that household in some positive and negative ways. In having the stroke survivor re-enter the family, the previous roles each member of the family had will change. The stroke survivor may not be able to carry out the roles he or she once had. It is up to the family to rearrange or redistribute these roles to help the family function properly.

This means allowing the stroke survivor to take responsibility for the roles he or she can do. If Mom is not capable of cooking, but wants to help in raising the children, let her. These roles will allow the stroke survivor to feel like he or she is a useful and wanted part of the family, not a burden on others. All families have a rhythm to them that is as individual as the people that make up the family.A stroke happens when blood flow to any part of the brain stops.

Each person has a different recovery time and need for long-term care. Problems with moving, thinking, and talking often improve in the first weeks or months after a stroke. Some people will keep improving months or years after a stroke.

Recovering after stroke

Most people will need stroke rehabilitation rehab to help them recover after they leave the hospital. Stroke rehab will help you regain the ability to care for yourself.

You may need to go to a boarding home, adult family home, or convalescent home to have a safe environment. After a stroke, some people may have problems finding a word or being able to speak more than one word or phrase at a time. Or, they may have trouble speaking at all. This is called aphasia. A stroke can also damage the muscles that help you speak.

As a result, these muscles do not move the right way when you try to speak. This is called dysarthria. A speech and language therapist can work with you and your family or caregivers. You can learn new ways to communicate. Depression after a stroke is common. Depression can start soon after a stroke, but symptoms may not begin for up to 2 years after the stroke. Treatments for depression include:. Moving around and doing normal daily tasks such as dressing and feeding may be harder after a stroke.

Muscles on one side of the body may be weaker or may not move at all. This may involve only part of the arm or leg, or the whole side of the body.The primary goals of stroke management are to reduce brain injury and promote maximum patient recovery.

Rapid detection and appropriate emergency medical care are essential for optimizing health outcomes. These units specialize in providing medical and surgical care aimed at stabilizing the patient's medical status. Once a patient is medically stable, the focus of their recovery shifts to rehabilitation. Some patients are transferred to in-patient rehabilitation programs, while others may be referred to out-patient services or home-based care.

stroke recovery

In-patient programs are usually facilitated by an interdisciplinary team that may include a physician, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapistoccupational therapistspeech and language pathologistpsychologistand recreation therapist.

While at the rehabilitation center, the interdisciplinary team makes sure that the patient attains their maximum functional potential upon discharge.

The primary goals of this sub-acute phase of recovery include preventing secondary health complications, minimizing impairments, and achieving functional goals that promote independence in activities of daily living. In the later phases of stroke recoverypatients are encouraged to participate in secondary prevention programs for stroke. Follow-up is usually facilitated by the patient's primary care provider. The initial severity of impairments and individual characteristics, such as motivation, social support, and learning ability, are key predictors of stroke recovery outcomes.

Current evidence indicates that most significant recovery gains will occur within the first 12 weeks following a stroke. InJohann Jakob Wepferby studying the brain of a pig, developed the theory that stroke was caused by an interruption of the flow of blood to the brain.

For most of the last century, people were discouraged from being active after a stroke. Around the s, this attitude changed, and health professionals began prescription of therapeutic exercises for stroke patient with good results. At that point, a good outcome was considered to be achieving a level of independence in which patients are able to transfer from the bed to the wheelchair without assistance. In the early s, Twitchell began studying the pattern of recovery in stroke patients.

He reported on patients whom he had observed. He reported that most recovery happens in the first three months, and only minor recovery occurs after six months. Around the same time, Brunnstrom also described the process of recovery, and divided the process into seven stages.

As knowledge of the science of brain recovery improved, intervention strategies have evolved. Knowledge of strokes and the process of recovery after strokes has developed significantly in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

The idea for constraint-induced therapy is at least years old. Significant research was carried out by Robert Oden. He was able to simulate a stroke in a monkey's brain, causing hemiplegia. He then bound up the monkey's good arm, and forced the monkey to use his bad arm, and observed what happened.

After two weeks of this therapy, the monkeys were able to use their once hemiplegic arms again. This is due to neuroplasticity. He did the same experiment without binding the arms, and waited six months past their injury. The monkeys without the intervention were not able to use the affected arm even six months later. Inthis study was published, but it received little attention.There are certain science-backed steps you can take to speed up stroke recovery.

There are no magic pills, though. Recovery is all about healing the brain after stroke. Anything you can do that helps your brain recover will lead to a faster recovery. In order to recover from stroke quickly, you need to focus on practices that help you rewire your brain as fast as possible.

This is how you will rebuild your skills after stroke and regain independence. Many stroke survivors struggle with walking and balance. The fastest way to improve your walking and balance is to focus on your feet, leg, and core strength. Link will open a pop-up that will not interrupt your reading. AFO braces for foot drop ankle foot orthotics are foot braces that help improve your gait if you have foot drop. While these braces are excellent for improving your safety while you get around, try not to become too dependent on them.

AFOs can lead to learned nonuse, a condition where you may lose even more mobility in your foot, until it becomes completely useless. Avoid this consequence by rehabilitating your foot through foot drop exercises. The repetitive exercise will rewire and heal the brain!

Quick tip : Speech therapy apps are a great way to quickly improve speech at home.


If you had a left-brain strokethen you may have language difficulties like aphasia or dysgraphia. You can work with a speech-language pathologist to improve these conditions. They will take you through exercises — and yes, they will emphasize repetition! However, if insurance limits the amount of sessions that you can do which often happensthen try using speech therapy apps. Quick tip : The plateau is real, but it does not mean that recovery is over!

There is a well-documented phenomenon where recovery slows down about 3 months after stroke.

How to Recover from Stroke Quickly in 11 Speedy Steps

Experiencing a regression every now and then is normal. If you wake up one day and things are drastically worse, call your doctor.Two-thirds of those people make it through the stroke and end up needing some form of mental and physical rehabilitation.

During the recovery period, patients work to regain the skills and physical abilities that were lost during the stroke. By understanding the recovery timeline, you will be better equipped to assist in the process. The first stages of recovery begin about twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the stroke, when the patient is still in the hospital. Some stroke patients regain a significant amount of mobility in the first few days. The initial stages of stroke rehabilitation are intensive and last for about five to six weeks.

During that period, patients will undergo inpatient or outpatient therapy, depending on their physical state and proximity to a treatment center. For five to six days each week, the patient will undergo intensive physical therapy, tests, and sessions with doctors. Although it is difficult to predict the exact stroke recovery time frame, most improvements happen within the first six months.

Patients may continue to improve after the six-month period if they have a great deal of support from family, friends, and doctors. After the initial few days of recovery:. In some cases, stroke patients will experience aphasia, or damage to the part of the brain that deals with language.

After the stroke, the person will often struggle to find the right words, form sentences, read, or write. According to The National Aphasia Foundation, approximately 25 to 40 percent of people have aphasia after a stroke.

If a patient suffers from aphasia, it can take up to two years to experience a full functional recovery. Lean more about brain stem stroke symptoms and recovery.

During an ischemic stroke, the brain is cut off from the blood supply due to a clot or atherosclerosis. The recovery time for an ischemic stroke depends on a number of factors, including the age of the patient, the time before diagnosis, and any underlying health conditions.

Ischemic strokes often cause paralysis; approximately 50 percent of people who are paralyzed on one side of the body will recover some level of movement even before they leave the hospital. According to Cedars-Sinai, the recovery and rehabilitation process continues for up to six months. At that point, any problems with physical and mental functioning are likely to be permanent.

Read about the best physical rehabilitation centers in the US. A hemorrhagic stroke happens as a result of sudden bleeding around the brain. They account for approximately 20 percent of all strokes, according to The New York Times.

The recovery time depends on whether the bleeding was intracerebral or in the brain stem. For intracerebral strokes, there is generally a lower risk and a shorter recovery time; most gains are made in the first three months. If the stroke affected the brain stem, the recovery may take a year or more. Read about the best physical rehabilitation centers in Seattle.

A transient ischemic attack TIA happens when a patient experiences symptoms that are similar to a stroke for a period of twenty-four hours or less. In general, TIA strokes last for less than two hours. Because a TIA is not a full-blown stroke, there is not an extended stroke recovery time, and patients usually recover immediately. A TIA is a serious warning sign, however, and patients must address underlying causes to prevent strokes in the future.

Living without having control over the left side of my body seemed unimaginable and frustrating.Rehabilitation after a stroke begins in the hospital, often within a day or two after the stroke.

Rehab helps ease the transition from hospital to home and can help prevent another stroke. Recovery time after a stroke is different for everyone—it can take weeks, months, or even years.

Some people recover fully, but others have long-term or lifelong disabilities. If you have had a stroke, you can make great progress in regaining your independence. However, some problems may continue:. Therapy and medicine may help with depression or other mental health conditions following a stroke. Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to life after a stroke. Talk with your health care team about local support groups, or check with an area medical center. Support from family and friends can also help relieve fear and anxiety following a stroke.

Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you. Surgery may also be helpful in some cases. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link.

Section Navigation. Recovering From Stroke. Minus Related Pages. Learn about CDC programs that address stroke.

stroke recovery

Get Email Updates. To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address: Email Address. What's this? Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website. Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website. You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link.

CDC is not responsible for Section compliance accessibility on other federal or private website. Cancel Continue.The good news about stroke : More people are surviving the initial stroke. The bad news about stroke: More people are surviving the initial stroke with disabilities which might have been minimized if they had received the kind of early, intensive physical rehabilitation that researchers find can improve function and reduce long-term disability.

In fact, as many as 60 percent are left with diminished use of an arm or leg. Turns out that yes, we can. A groundbreaking Johns Hopkins study from Zeiler and his colleagues confirmed what clinicians have long suspected—we can rewire the brain so that one part takes over functions typically handled by another, now damaged, area. In studies conducted with mice, the researchers first taught the mice a special way to reach for food.

Then they gave the mice mild strokes that damaged this motor cortex. As expected, the mice could no longer perform the reaching task with their pre-stroke level of precision.

Two days after the stroke, however, researchers began retraining the mice and, after a week, the mice performed the task just as well as before the stroke.

stroke recovery

In a similar study, the researchers found that the earlier retraining started, the better. Upcoming clinical trials will determine if this unique experience helps patients recover motor function faster than the current conventional treatment of repetitive exercises.

stroke recovery

If you experience an ischemic stroke caused by a lack of blood flow to a part of the brainyour doctor will recommend aspirin or another anti-clotting medication, Zeiler says. If you have atrial fibrillationtalk to your doctor about an anticoagulation medication such as warfarin.

Other smart steps to take:. Parvalbumin marks the activity of a special class of nerve cells called inhibitory interneurons. Low levels of parvalbumin, and therefore lowered levels of inhibitory activity, is thought to help uninjured parts of the brain take over the injured parts, say researchers. Skip Navigation.

Health Home Conditions and Diseases Stroke. Retraining the Brain A groundbreaking Johns Hopkins study from Zeiler and his colleagues confirmed what clinicians have long suspected—we can rewire the brain so that one part takes over functions typically handled by another, now damaged, area. Other smart steps to take: Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levelswhich differ depending on your age and medical history.

Eat a Mediterranean-type diet : high in olive oil, legumes, cereals, fruits, and vegetables and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Get moderate physical exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming for 30 to 60 minutes at least four days a week.

Aim for a healthy weightincluding a waist circumference of less than Definitions Mediterranean diet: Traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and dementia. On the menu: Plenty of fruits, vegetables and beans, along with olive oil, nuts, whole grains, seafood; moderate amounts of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese and poultry; small amounts of red meat and sweets; and wine, in moderation, with meals.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals: The Best Setting for Stroke Recovery

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