Stroke Rehabilitation for Stroke Recovery

Scientific research has proven that stroke rehabilitation is critical for optimal stroke recovery. The benefits come from helping the brain reorganize itself through physical therapy. Here you can find important information about physical therapy and rehabilitation after a stroke, and learn about how it will  help you regain your life after stroke.

What is stroke rehabilitation?

Stroke rehabilitation is an individualized process designed for a stroke survivor to work with a team of health care providers.

The exercises and process of rehabilitation helps a stroke survivor to regain as much of the function lost after a stroke as possible. By joining a comprehensive rehabilitation program immediately after leaving the hospital, stroke survivors can maximize recovery, and in most cases can regain a substantial portion of the functions lost as a result of the stroke.

Why is stroke rehabilitation important?

The importance of rehabilitation after stroke cannot be overemphasized. Studies have shown that rehabilitation is responsible for most of the recovery experienced by patients after a stroke, and that without it, little or no improvement can be accomplished. Stroke rehabilitation provides a safe way of using the functions impaired after a stroke through a targeted and organized plan to re-learn functions lost.

Some of the goals of rehabilitation include:

 *Preventing atrophy (muscle loss) in weakened arms or legs.

* Preventing spasticity (muscle stiffness) in arms or legs that you do not use regularly after a stroke

* Training your bladder to avoid urinary retention and incontinence after a stroke

*Learning how to eat and swallow your food and drinks safely after a stroke

How long does stroke rehabilitation last?

The duration of your rehabilitation program depends on the type of stroke you suffered.

On the average, immediately after leaving the hospital, people stay at inpatient rehabilitation facilities for a total of 16 days. This in-house therapy does not provide the same intensity of medical care as a hospital, but it is an environment in which a stroke survivor gets daily medical attention, help with medications and an intense physical therapy program. Therapy includes muscle training, balance training and evaluation of speech and swallowing function. Help with learning how to swallow safely and how to use the toilet after a stroke is part of an inpatient rehabilitation program.

In patient treatment is typically followed by further rehabilitation as an outpatient for several weeks or even several months.
Although most of your improvement will take place within this short time, your brain can continue to learn and re-learn new and old tasks for as long as you live. This is why it is so important to continue with any exercises that your physical therapists recommends for you at home- your rehabilitation 'homework' after you have completed your visits to the rehabilitation center. A successful outcome w requires dedication, perseverance, and a great attitude. In fact, some studies suggest that successful and meaningful recovery is more likely to be accomplished if you are dedicated and keep a high level of motivation during your rehabilitation process.

New physical therapy techniques

Find out about exciting new techniques in stroke rehabilitation- including mirror therapy, a new 'musicglove' designed for stroke survivors and methods using video games, computers and music therapy.


Urinary Incontinence Basics Inability to control when urine is often a symptom of stroke. Learn about this condition and what can be done to treat it

Aphasia Rehabilitation: Strokes often affect the language areas of the brain leaving stroke survivors with difficulties in communication. Intense rehabilitation can help improve this condition. Learn about stroke-induced language dysfunction treatments here.

About dysphagia, and its Rehabilitation One of the impairments left behind by strokes is the inability to swallow.

Sources: Maclean N, Pound P, Wolfe C, Rudd A. British Medical Journal 2000 Oct 28;321(7268):1051-4 Qualitative analysis of stroke patients' motivation for rehabilitation
Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR; Pam M. Smith, DNS, RN; Sandra B. Illig, MS, RN; Richard T. Linn, PhD; Glenn V. Ostir, PhD; Carl V. Granger, MD Journal of the American Medical Association 2004;292:1687-1695 Trends in Length of Stay, Living Setting, Functional Outcome, and Mortality Following Medical Rehabilitation

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