The 5 Support Stages of Stroke Recovery
The brain is a powerful yet delicate organ we often take for granted. Every thought, movement, and feeling we experience is thanks to the brain. So when these significant capabilities are suddenly stripped away by a stroke, the emotional and physical turmoil runs deep.
Each year, over 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke. And up to 50% of stroke survivors suffer motor dysfunction or brain impairment, which may include memory loss and challenges in focusing and processing information.
If these experiences emulate what you have been going through, the Aviv Clinics team is here to offer research-backed guidance on your road to recovery. Health is the most crucial element in your life. The time to commit to it is now.
Below you’ll find information on the impact a stroke has on your body and the five stages of stroke recovery. The intention? Ensuring you find a customized medical program to help you get back to optimal health.
What Happens to the Brain During a Stroke?
When a stroke occurs, blood cannot get to parts of the brain, meaning oxygen and nutrients cannot adequately nourish brain cells.
Thus, two things can happen:
- Arteries become blocked (an ischemic stroke).
- Arteries break/rupture (a hemorrhagic stroke)
In either case, a stroke damages areas of the brain. These impacts can manifest in cognitive, physical, and even emotional symptoms.
How the Brain Recovers from a Stroke – The 5 Support Stages:
Studies illustrate the brain can reorganize and adapt in response to injury. But this process isn’t as clear-cut as you’d hope.
The reality is each person carries unique symptoms and medical histories. So finding a clinic that can offer a customized post-stroke recovery plan is key. The right treatment plan will include one or a combination of these post-stroke rehab therapies.
The good news: The Aviv Medical Program provides a post-stroke recovery treatment program that can combine cognitive, physical training, dietary coaching, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy sessions, even years after the incident. It is never too late to enhance your recovery.
The five support stages to post-stroke recovery: each stage represents a milestone that gets you closer to gaining back your previous capabilities.
1. Thinking, Memory, and Perception Training
Thinking, memory, and perception are vital in day-to-day communication and activities. Not to mention, they are what makes each of us creative and unique. So when up to half of stroke survivors experience cognitive impairments, addressing them is critical.
This is where a neuropsychologist can step in. Neuropsychologists assess the connection between someone’s brain and their potential to participate in daily activities.
Neuropsychologists typically begin with an assessment that measures memory, learning, and processing speed. They then use this data to craft a rehabilitation plan.
2. Communication and Language Training
Human connection plays a vital role in happiness and good health. It’s what helps us build empathy and relationships. So when this is taken away via aphasia—a disorder that affects your ability to understand or express speech—communicating and connecting with loved ones becomes challenging.
Stroke patients with aphasia are often referred to speech-language pathologists (SLPs). SLPs help individuals relearn communication and language techniques such as:
- Controlling mouth/throat muscles
- Engaging in cognitive language exercises
- Pronouncing specific words
- Formulating sentences or expressing information
3. Exercise and Mobility Training
Those undergoing physical challenges may work with a physical therapist (PT) who helps them relearn and regain physical activities.
Exercise and mobility training with a PT may include:
- Movement exercises such as walking, sitting, standing, lying down, and switching from one type of movement to another
- Balance and breathing techniques
These help patients reacquire motor skills and return to their daily routines. Studies show consistent PT minimizes the risk of hospital readmission among post-stroke patients.
4. Nutritional Training
Nutritional training can be beneficial in post-stroke recovery for the following reasons:
- Some patients are unable to swallow well after a stroke. Their appetite might also diminish. These conditions can impact patients’ weight and nutritional intake.
- Patients may have physical issues (for example, being unable to control their arms and/or hands) that make eating and drinking difficult.
Dieticians can address those concerns and provide recommendations based on your needs to:
- Improve your health
- Minimize the risk of having another stroke
5. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Decades of research prove the benefits of using HBOT in post-stroke recovery. HBOT is a therapy process where patients are prescribed time in an oxygen chamber, breathing in 100% oxygen.
HBOT boosts oxygen in the body and promotes brain cell rehabilitation, which can result in:
- Regained speech
- Recovered ability to read and/or write
- Restored motor function
- Return to independence in performing daily activities
Stroke Recovery Story: Keren Trabelsi
A holistic treatment plan that addresses the mind and body is key to successful recovery. It offers a more effective and long-term recovery plan. Former Aviv Clinics patient Keren Trabelsi is a true testament to this.
Keren underwent an ischemic stroke, causing paralysis on the left side of her body. Also, cognitive issues made daily tasks difficult, which did not make her feel as capable as she had been before.
Fortunately, Keren found the Aviv Medical Program. Aviv provided a personalized treatment plan that encompassed many of the phases discussed above.
Thirteen months later, she can walk comfortably, type with her left hand again, and engage in cognitive activities (i.e., crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc.).
“[The Aviv Medical Program is] like driving a Ferrari on the road to recovery versus driving like an old beaten-up car….”
Watch Keren’s post-stroke recovery story;
Stay educated on stroke by joining our on demand webinar.
Recovering After a Stroke: Is it ever too late?
Post-Stroke Recovery: 4 Tips to Keep in Mind
To ensure the most successful post-stroke recovery, stay mindful of the following:
1. Several Factors Influence Recovery
What recovery looks like and how long it takes is different for everyone due to reasons such as:
- Where in the brain the stroke happened
- How much of the brain was affected
- The survivor’s will and motivation to get better
- The level of caregiver support
- The quantity and quality of the recovery program
2. Repetitive Practice Is Key
“Carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice” is key to any neurorehabilitation program. It’s the same concept as if you were to learn a new skill like a musical instrument. Repetitive practice effectively retrains your brain.
3. Recurrent Stroke Prevention Should be Approached with Vigilance
Patients and healthcare professionals should be especially vigilant in preventing another stroke—roughly one in four stroke patients have had a stroke in the past.
Stroke prevention requires:
- Starting treatment right away
- Keeping the following conditions under control, as they can put you at higher risk for another stroke:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
4. Measuring Progress Matters
The type of therapy and frequency are important factors to consider during recovery. Working with a medical staff that captures and tracks data is critical to your success.
For example, the Aviv Medical Program tracks analytics to provide a detailed report of your health and progress.
The information gathered from a variety of scientifically-advanced analytical tools (including an in-depth high resolution MRI of your brain stroke) allows our clinical team to make customized adjustments and give you precisely what you need to elevate the quality of your life.
Post-Stroke Recovery: 2 Key Signs of Healing
If you find your post-stroke recovery journey is slightly different, don’t stress about it. Everyone is different; thus, timelines and progress will vary. Regardless, there are two signs of recovery you can expect:
- There is improvement within three months and beyond: Although everyone recovers at a different pace, the first three months are generally when patients see and feel the most improvement. That’s why it’s more effective to begin a stroke recovery program quickly.
- Independence is improving: After a stroke, you may depend on others to help you carry out daily tasks such as getting dressed, bathing, or eating. With the right post-stroke treatment plan, you’ll start to rely less on others and perform those tasks independently again.
Seek Stroke Treatment in Florida
Our team proudly assists a variety of clients, crafting an individualized plan for each patient.
If you or your loved one has undergone a stroke, contact Aviv Clinics. We’ll put you in touch with our medical team, who conducts the best stroke rehab center in Florida.