Treatment for the acute episode of a stroke is either medical or surgical. But, medical therapies are more common. Once the acute period is over and your condition has stabilized, the process of rehabilitation begins.
Rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process. It may begin in the acute setting, then continue for months to years after the stroke. You may need to learn new ways to do activities of daily living. Many assistive technologies and adaptive tools are available to assist you in gaining self-sufficiency. The best outcomes are achieved by participating in focused programs that use repetition to rebuild skills and abilities.
For Managing Speech Deficit
Your ability to speak or understand the spoken word may be affected by the stroke. Speech therapy will assist you in regaining this important ability. It may take considerable time and effort.
For Managing Gait Disturbance or Other Gross Motor Deficits
You may have trouble with walking. Even just sitting up may require extensive retraining of major muscle groups and coordination. You may need to use walking aids, such as a cane or braces, to compensate for weakened muscles. Physical therapy will be a very important part of maximizing your recovery. During regular therapy sessions, a physical therapist can teach you how to move about after a stroke that has caused leg or body weakness.
Studies have found that occupational therapy can improve the types of activities that you do every day (like feeding, dressing, bathing, and going to the toilet). Your doctor can refer you to physical and occupational therapists.
For Managing Fine Motor Deficits
Hands and arms may also suffer from a stroke. You may have to relearn how to do things that you once felt were simple, such as writing or feeding yourself. Occupational therapists have a number of assistive devices to improve these functions when damaged by a stroke.
For Managing Dependency
For the first time in your adult life, you may have to depend on others to feed you, move you, dress you, get you to the bathroom, even just to stay alive. This is the most difficult aspect of stroke for most people.
In addition to family and friends, there are many professional caregivers with the skills to help you with your daily living activities. Your doctor and other members of your healthcare team will connect you with the help you will need.
Recovery may happen within days or it may take months. Along with your treatment team, set reasonable goals and put your best effort to achieve them.
For Managing Depression
Symptoms of depression often involve feeling profoundly sad and losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed. Depression is common after a stroke. This condition can be treated by working with a mental health therapist and taking medicines. Antidepressants may assist the brain in recovery after a stroke, helping to restore mental and motor functioning.
Your improvement may continue for many months. As it does, your needs will change. Take an active role in deciding what is best for you at each stage. Be part of the treatment team.
When to Contact Your Doctor
From the moment you arrive in the emergency room, you will be in constant touch with doctors for the duration of your symptoms. Your team will give you a list of events that require you to contact them and an indication of how urgent each event is. At the top of the list will be any new or recurrent neurological symptoms. Once you have had a stroke, your chance of having another is much greater. As you improve, make sure your doctor knows of your progress so that treatment can adjusted.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/92/2012 -