brain is a remarkable organ. When the blood flow is cut off, new
pathways can take over and supply the
blood to the damaged area. Also, the brain
can make compensations. One area will take over the functions that
were previously handled by a different area. This
is called neuroplasticity.
mild strokes can and do
recover from most disabilities caused by a
stroke! Others with more serious deficits,
massive strokes, may have serious permanent disabilities but
can still lead a productive life following a stroke.
should begin as soon as possible after a stroke. The first priority
is to stabilize your medical condition and get life-threatening
conditions under control. Doctors also take measures to prevent
another stroke and limit any stroke-related complications. However,
once these steps have been taken, it's common for stroke
rehabilitation to start during your
acute hospital stay.
The sooner you begin stroke
rehabilitation, the more likely you are to regain lost abilities and
skills. Rehabilitation is imperative following a
stroke. Rehabilitation therapy must start immediately and
continue, to some degree, for however long as possible.
connections, neural pathways, must be developed around the damaged
area. The only way to expedite these connections is through
therapy. The benefits come from helping the brain to
reorganize itself with physical therapy, which in turn helps the
stroke survivor to recover functions lost after a
Stroke rehabilitation is
the combined and coordinated use of
medical, social, educational, and vocational measures for retraining
Some of the different types of medical professionals
who participate in the care of stroke patients
during the rehabilitation process include:
STEPS OF RECOVERY FROM A
Usually, recovery happens in
phases. It takes place over a period of time that can vary from a
few weeks to a few years. Every stroke is different and the extent
of damage varies.
Below are the general phases that a stroke patient
can expect to go through.
Treatment - This begins when a person first
enters the hospital. Doctors will determine the type of stroke and
will provide the appropriate treatment. This may consist of drugs to
break up clots, tPA,
and thin the blood or surgery to repair a broken blood
vessel. Treatment is aimed at preventing another stroke from taking
place and limiting the amount of brain damage that occurs.
Recovery - After a stroke, some
spontaneous recovery takes place for most people. Abilities that may
have been lost will begin to return. This process can take place
very quickly over the first few weeks, and then, it may begin to
taper off. Despite what hospital doctors
predict, most stroke survivors regain more than expected.
Doctors HAVE to give the worst case scenario.
Rehabilitation - This phase
usually takes place while the patient is still in the
Various therapists and specialists will work with the stroke victim
to bring back lost skills. This can be a very frustrating time for
the patient as they become aware of their limitations from the
stroke. Oftentimes, this is the period where anger or depression can
set in. It's good to remember that with proper therapy, many or most
skills can be relearned.
Home - This can be a very
exciting time, but adjustments may have to be made. Some of the
adjustments might be temporary or some may last for a lifetime.
For the stroke
survivor, simple tasks such as tying shoes
or fastening pants can be difficult. These are easy to remedy.
Velcro shoes and drawstring pants can be worn. Other issues may not
be as easy. But take courage. There will be many experts to ease