If you’re wondering what your stroke recovery timeline will look like, then you’ve come to the right place.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find information about your stroke recovery duration because every stroke is different, which means that every stroke recovery timeline will be different.
However, there are still some patterns that we’d like to highlight that can help boost your understanding of what’s going on.
Not all survivors will experience these same patterns, but it will give you a general idea of what to expect.
Immediately post stroke, you will begin rehab and your motor function will start to improve at a rapid rate. This is caused by the brain’s ‘heightened state of plasticity’ as it tries to heal itself after injury.
Three months post stroke, you will continue to recover at a good pace, but things will start to slow down as plasticity decreases. This will feel like a plateau, but don’t let it fool you! More on how to bust past plateaus that later.
One year post stroke, things start to vary from person to person. Those with severe stroke side effects will continue to participate in physical therapy to regain lost functions. Those with mild stroke side effects could recover after just one year. Those with medium side effects may benefit from continued rehab in order to achieve a fuller recovery.
The amount of time it requires for you to recover from stroke is highly dependent upon your compliance with rehab and motivation to keep going.
How to Speed Things Along
Your brain requires certain things in order to recover efficiently.
Specifically, it requires consistency and repetition. If you’re diligent about doing your exercises and you repeat each exercise over and over, then you’re doing everything you need in order to trigger neuroplasticity, the mechanism by which your brain rewires itself after injury.
The more you stimulate neuroplasticity, the more you will recover.
You can also speed things along by working on the motivation factor.
Many survivors can benefit from the internal motivation of outcome-oriented goal-setting. Here, instead of just setting goals, you illustrate what life would be like if you did and did not accomplish them, making it far more motivating to achieve than regular goal setting.
How to Bust Through Plateaus
When things slow down after stroke, it’s not a sign to stop. In fact, it’s a sign to double your efforts.
When your brain exits its stage of heightened plasticity, it will become harder to heal as fast as before – but you can always continue to recover. Our brain is constantly changing throughout our entire life, and you can capitalize on neuroplasticity whenever you make the conscious effort.
To help bust through plateaus, you can try adding variety to your regimen to give your brain extra stimulation. You may also benefit from mental practice that triggers neuroplasticity the same way that physical practice does!
To understand where you are in your recovery, take a look at the Brunnstrom stages of stroke recovery. It will help you figure out where you are in your stroke recovery timeline spasticity-wise.