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What to Expect During Stroke Rehabilitation

Updated: May 3, 2023

Jan 12, 2023 5:55:02 PM


Have you recently suffered a stroke? Or perhaps someone you love has gone through this serious medical emergency.

Whatever the case, it's important to understand as much about this type of experience as possible. You will also need to know what to expect going forward as the recovery process begins. This article can help.

Here we take a look at what you should expect during stroke rehabilitation. This will help make the experience as pleasant and stress-free as possible. Keep reading to learn more about the different aspects of stroke rehab.


What Is a Stroke?


Let's start with the basics: what does it mean to have a stroke?


This is a medical term used to describe a brain injury caused when the brain tissue is unable to receive enough oxygen and nutrients. When this happens, blood flow to the brain gets interrupted. This interruption results in damaged brain cells. In fact, brain cells begin to die very rapidly during and after the occurrence of a stroke.


This Is How A Stroke Occurs

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Common Causes of Strokes


So, what exactly causes a stroke? The most common type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke and is caused when proper blood flow to the brain is interrupted.


For example, blood vessels could be blocked by a blood clot. Blood flow could also be interrupted due to blood vessels becoming too narrow for healthy circulation.


During an ischemic stroke, brain cells begin to die because of a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. You might have heard of a "ministroke". This is a traumatic brain event that is very similar to an ischemic stroke but is less severe and unlikely to result in brain damage.


There is a second type of stroke. These are known in the medical world as hemorrhagic strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts, resulting in blood leaking into the brain.


Common Causes Of Stroke

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Common Results of a Stroke


When you've suffered a stroke, you could expect to experience a wide variety of symptoms and complications.


This includes cognitive complications. For example, you might begin experiencing memory problems. You can also expect a shortened attention span and an inability to think clearly. Many stroke victims also have difficulty speaking, including the ability to form words or construct sentences.


It's also extremely common for stroke victims to become far weaker on one side of their body than the other. This might only take the form of physical weakness but oftentimes a stroke victim will experience complete paralysis on the affected side of the brain where the stroke occurred.


A Woman At Stroke Rehabilitation

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This resulting weakness often impacts balance or the ability to walk at all. You will also experience fatigue, even if you haven't been active in any way.


Additional stroke symptoms include extreme anxiety, mood swings, depression, and occasional outbursts. Many stroke victims report difficulty swallowing, an inability to control bowel or urinary functions, as well as aphasia, which is a disorder that impacts your ability to hear or speak.


What to Expect During Rehabilitation for Stroke


It's important to emphasize that recovering from this type of medical event, even at a quality stroke rehabilitation center, isn't a fast or simple process. In other words, you shouldn't expect to take a pill and start feeling better. In most cases, stroke rehab is typically a long and difficult road.


First of all, it's important to find the best stroke rehabilitation center in your area so that you'll receive the highest quality treatment and care possible.


Once you've found a reputable stroke rehab center, it's important to understand the different aspects of stroke recovery.


They include a focus on mobility training, motor-skill exercises, range-of-motion therapy, constraint-induced therapy, cognitive disorder therapy, psychological evaluation and treatment, therapy for communication disorders, and specific medications designed to help you heal from a stroke.


Stroke Rehabilitation Exercises

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When Should You Start Therapy?


The best advice is to begin stroke recovery treatment as soon as possible. In fact, the sooner you start, the greater the odds that you'll be able to regain any cognitive or physical abilities you've lost due to the stroke.


The length of your stroke rehab treatment mostly depends on the extent of the complications you've experienced. In fact, you might require ongoing outpatient treatment once you've completed inpatient treatment at the stroke rehab center of your choice.


It's important to understand that each patient is different. Thus you should never base your expectations on the symptoms of treatment outcomes of any other stroke patients you may have spoken to regarding the recovery process.


Timeline for Recovery


Keep in mind that the first three months following the stroke are the most important. This is the time period when patients generally make the most progress. That's why you'll want the best healthcare professionals providing the level of quality treatment. After all, quality care is what you need and deserve.


Beyond the first three months, the remainder of your recovery gets determined by how well you've responded to treatment thus far.


Patient With A Walker Getting Out Of Bed

A Guide to the Stroke Rehabilitation Process


It's no secret that suffering a stroke can be a life-altering experience. After all, a stroke is scary and confusing, and the road to recovery is lengthy and exhausting. The good news is, this guide to understanding the stroke rehabilitation process helps make the journey to full recovery a little less of a mystery.


At Power of Patients®, we understand that every brain injury is unique. Our goal is to equip individuals, parents, medical professionals, and the research community with real-world knowledge about brain health to help inform decision-making for each patient's journey. Reach out to us to learn more.

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