Want to know how to recover from stroke quickly?
Although there are no quick fixes for something as intricate as stroke recovery, there are certain techniques that can speed up the process.
We’ll give you a quick overview, then dig deeper into each tip.
Recover from Stroke Quickly with Your Very Own Brain Power
Stroke recovery is all about healing the brain. Anything you can do that helps your brain recover will lead to a faster recovery. In order to recover from stroke quickly, you need to focus on practices that help you rewire your brain as fast as possible.
Since a faster recovery from stroke is something that every survivor wants, there are a lot of scams out there. So we’ll briefly discuss how to identify a scam before we dig in to the tips.
Avoid Scams That Claim to Speed Up Recovery with Pills or Magic Potions
If anyone tries to sell you a “magic pill” or supplement that will speed up stroke recovery, it’s probably a scam. While a healthy diet can help fuel your brain for recovery (you’ll learn about that soon), no pill can cure stroke side effects overnight.
The best way to ensure a fast recovery from stroke is to focus on practices that help heal the brain as efficiently as possible.
Here are 11 ways to do just that:
1. Focus Your Attention on the Most Important Thing…
Quick tip: The fastest way to recover movement after stroke is with high repetition of rehab exercise.
Repetition should be your #1 focus if you want to recover from stroke quickly.
Repetition activates neuroplasticity, your brain’s built-in mechanism for rewiring itself and creating efficiency. This is how you will rebuild your skills after stroke and regain independence. For example, when you practice hand therapy exercises, it rewires the neural pathways in your brain responsible for hand movement. Repetition strengthens these connections. The more you practice, the more your hand movement will improve.
2. Get Better at Walking by Focusing on More Than Your Feet
Quick tip: Improving your gait (ability to walk) is a full-body task.
If you struggle with walking after stroke, you’re not alone. Many stroke survivors struggle with walking and balance. The fastest way to improve your walking and balance is to focus on your feet, leg, and core strength. Your legs are obviously important for walking, but many people neglect the core, which is essential for stability. To get back on your feet faster, focus on high repetition of leg rehab exercises and core rehab exercises.
3. Don’t Slow Down Your Foot Drop Recovery with AFOs
Quick tip: Rehab exercises are the fastest way to improve foot drop after stroke. AFO’s are the slowest.
Foot drop a condition where you have difficulty with dorsiflexion (lifting your foot up). It’s likely that you were prescribed an AFO, a brace that helps keep your foot in place. While AFO’s are effective, it’s a very poor approach to fixing foot drop. In fact, using an AFO and neglecting your foot can lead to learned-nonuse, where you completely lose control of your foot.
Instead of taking the easy route – and possibly losing all control of your foot! – try to rehab your condition through foot drop exercises. The more reps you do, the faster you will recover.
4. Use Inexpensive Apps to Improve Speech After Stroke
Quick tip: Speech therapy apps are a great way to quickly improve speech at home.
If you had a left-brain stroke, then you may have language difficulties like aphasia or dysgraphia. You can work with a speech-language pathologist to improve these conditions. They will take you through exercises – and yes, they will emphasize repetition!
However, if insurance limits the amount of sessions that you can do (which often happens), then try using speech therapy apps. They can help you get your reps in when you’re away from your therapist and improve speech as fast as possible.
5. Bounce Back from a Plateau Faster with Variety
Quick tip: The plateau is real, but it does not mean that recovery is over!
There is a well-documented phenomenon where recovery slows down about 3 months after stroke. This is called a “plateau” and it does NOT mean that recovery has stopped. Instead, it’s a sign that you need to double-down on your efforts and add some variety to your regimen to shake things up.
6. Reverse Regressions Quickly by Staying Consistent
Quick tip: Going backwards every now and then is perfectly normal, so don’t freak out.
Many stroke survivors describe stroke recovery as a “two steps forward, one step backward” process. Experiencing a regression every now and then is normal. If you wake up one day and things are drastically worse, call your doctor.
But if there seems to be an ebb and flow to your recovery, know that it’s normal. When you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, everything should be going in a generally upward direction. (And if it isn’t, you should contact your doctor or therapist.)
7. Speed Up Recovery from Stroke with Meditation
Quick tip: Meditation is seriously amazing for your brain! Don’t miss out on these benefits from such a simple and quick practice.
Use your down time to your advantage by developing a daily mediation practice – it can seriously boost your recovery (and we mean seriously).
Meditation is proven to:
- Reduce depression, tiredness, and fatigue
- Improve attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility
- Grow your brain and improve information processing
All from sitting and doing nothing 🙂
8. Recover from Stroke Quickly with a Better Diet
Quick tip: Some studies show that the ketogenic diet or MIND diet can improve recovery after stroke.
What does food have to do with a speedy recovery? The more nutrients you have, the more energy your body and brain have to heal. The best way to get your nutrients is through good food first and supplements second (if at all). Here’s a guide on how to eat healthy after stroke and what supplements to consider.
We have also come across studies that show that the ketogenic diet and MIND diet can support recovery after stroke. Be sure to consult with your doctor first though! Preexisting medical conditions can make dietary changes dangerous. Always exercise caution.
9. Get Sleep or Risk Going Backwards
Quick tip: You will probably crave a lot of sleep after stroke, and you should listen to your body!
Our article on sleep after stroke is our most popular article by far, which is very interesting. Are you surprised by the amount of sleep that you need after stroke? If you are, don’t worry. The desire to sleep a lot after stroke is perfectly normal and healthy!
Sleep helps improve movement recovery after stroke by turning the short-term memories from the day’s rehab exercises into long-term memories. In other words, the more you sleep the more opportunity your brain has to heal and recover.
If you fail to give your body the rest it needs, then your progress can go backward and prolong your recovery.
10. Add the Second-Most-Important Ingredient for a Faster Recovery: Consistency
Quick tip: Random rehab produces the slowest results. Consistency is key if you want a quick recovery.
Neuroplasticity will help you get your life back, and repetition is what makes neuroplasticity possible. For this reason, inconsistent rehab won’t lead to good results because the necessary repetition isn’t there.
In order to recover fully and quickly, you need to have a really consistent schedule because it’s what your brain wants.
Do your rehab exercises on specific days at a specific times so that it becomes routine.
11. Always Shoot for a Full Recovery
Quick tip: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” –Les Brown
We have a radical philosophy: everyone should shoot for a full recovery from stroke. We have simply heard too many stories of people beating the odds and recovering way more than their doctors expected. It’s the difference between the placebo effect and nocebo effect: expecting a positive outcome usually produces one; and expecting a negative outcome usually produces one! So do yourself a favor and expect a higher recovery from the start.
Have you tried any of these tips?
Let us know how your recovery is moving along in the comments below! We’d love to learn about your stroke recovery story.