Stroke Recovery

When a person suffers a stroke, damage to the brain causes loss of basic motor skills, thus impairing the patient’s ability to perform daily activities. Stroke recovery and rehabilitation help the patient regain lost skills and abilities, thus ensuring good quality of life. Stroke severity—and the resulting degree of impairment—vary widely from one patient to the next. Stroke rehab programs typically include physical activities such as motor skills exercises to improve muscle strength and coordination, mobility training to help the patient move and walk, range of motion exercises, electrical stimulation to stimulate weakened muscles, speech therapy for loss of communication skills (e.g., speaking, listening, writing, and comprehension), emotional evaluation and treatment, and administration of medications for depression and muscle movement. A patient’s stroke recovery program should begin as soon after the stroke episode as possible because the sooner the patient begins a rehabilitation program, the more likely he or she is to regain full function. For this reason, many stroke rehab programs begin 24 to 48 hours post-stroke. The duration of the treatment program depends on the severity of the stroke and its related complications. Some patients recover relatively quickly, while others require continued therapy for months or years.