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. Stroke rehabilitation is an important part of recovery after a stroke.
Recovering from stroke: stroke rehabilitation
Rehabilitation after a stroke begins in the hospital, often within a day or 2 after the stroke. Rehab helps ease the transition from hospital to home and can help prevent another stroke.
Rehab can include working with speech, physical, and occupational therapists.
- Speech therapy helps people who have problems producing or understanding speech.
- Physical therapy uses exercises to help you relearn movement and coordination skills you may have lost because of the stroke.
- Occupational therapy focuses on improving daily activities, such as eating, drinking, dressing, bathing, reading, and writing.
Your rehabilitation plan will depend on the part of the body or type of ability affected by your stroke.
Physical activities might include:
- Motor-skill exercises. Exercises can help improve muscle strength and coordination throughout the body.
- Mobility training. You might learn to use mobility aids, such as a walker, canes, wheelchair or ankle brace.
- Constraint-induced therapy. An unaffected limb is restrained while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function.
. Cognitive and emotional activities might include:
- Therapy for cognitive disorders. Occupational therapy and speech therapy can help you with lost cognitive abilities, such as memory, processing, problem-solving, social skills, judgment and safety awareness.
- Therapy for communication disorders. Speech therapy can help you regain lost abilities in speaking, listening, writing and comprehension.
- Psychological evaluation and treatment. Your emotional adjustment might be tested. You might also have counseling or participate in a support group.
- Medication. Your doctor might recommend an antidepressant or a medication that affects alertness, agitation or movement.
How long does stroke rehabilitation last?
How long you need stroke rehabilitation depends on the severity of your stroke and related complications. Some stroke survivors recover quickly. But most need some form of long-term stroke rehabilitation. This could last for possibly months or years after their stroke.
Your stroke rehabilitation plan will change during your recovery as you relearn skills and your needs change. With ongoing practice, you can continue to make gains over time.