After a stroke, especially if it is the first one you’ve ever gone through, you may be confused or worried about what to expect during the recovery process. The fact is, recovery is somewhat different for each stroke victim and even for each stroke, there being several classes of strokes and severity levels.
Nonetheless, there are some general commonalities that all or most stroke sufferers experience in the days, weeks, and months following the incident. Here are the 7 most important factors to keep in mind as you enter upon your journey of recovery.
1. Initial Recovery Is Usually Fastest
Immediately after release from the hospital, the next step is normally undergoing rehabilitation at a local rehab center. In this environment, you are monitored, cared for, and encouraged day by day as you continue to recover.
It is during the first 3 months immediately following a stroke that the most rapid recovery typically occurs. After this point, there is usually a slowing of the rate of progress – but it need not stop or slow to a crawl. With proper care, rehabilitation exercises, and lifestyle, significant progress can continue indefinitely.
2. You Will Have Rehab Ups & Downs
Recovery doesn’t normally run in a straight, upward line. It ebbs and flows, speeds up and slows down, and may come in spurts with weeks or months intervening.
Having some setbacks is normal. If symptoms start to decline rapidly or stagnate for long periods of time, you should seek medical attention. But there is no need to assume the worst at every minor bump on the road to recovery.
3. Expect “Spasticity” Challenges
One of the most common problems stroke victims suffer from post-stroke is called spasticity. This is when the limbs and/or neck experience more limited mobility, pain with movement, and changes from their normal position.
A certain amount of spasticity is normal, but you can also expect to overcome it during the days and months of rehab ahead.
4. Expect “Learned Non-use” Syndrome
Also typical is learned non-use syndrome, which refers to the avoidance of using a particular muscle/muscle group in order to rely heavily on those muscles not much affected by the stroke.
It will take time for the brain to rewire itself so as to reconnect fully with all muscles and for you to relearn how to use your entire body as before.
5. Speech Problems Are Common
You may also need a speech-language pathologist as you go through rehabilitation. Communication and language problems often follow a stroke.
Both physical and cognitive difficulties may arise when seeking to speak and interactive in common conversations. Therapists trained in speech-language pathology can achieve amazing results, however, in speeding up this aspect of recovery.
6. Depression Is A Frequent Problem
If you find yourself in the midst of post-stroke depression, then you are like most people. Being unable (even temporarily) to do what you once did with ease can be frustrating and depressing.
But depression need not be permanent nor need it interfere with your progress. You can find joy in the journey during short-term rehabilitation.
7. Prepare To Adjust And Transition
Returning home is a wonderful feeling, but you should also expect that the transition to life back home will have its challenges too.
You may need railings and other home modifications since there may be continuing trouble with balance. An occupational therapist (OP) may be needed to help at home. And you will need to get plenty of sleep to “rest your brain” and aid in recovery.
Looking for further information on what to expect after a stroke or assistance in rehab/recovery? Contact Arbors Amarillo today in the heart of the North Texas Panhandle!