How long does it take to recover from a mild stroke? If your loved one recently had a minor stroke, it’s normal to have questions about mild stroke recovery time.
Every recovery will be different because every stroke is different. No one can estimate minor stroke recovery time with absolute certainty.
Still, there are some patterns worth noting for mild stroke patients. Hopefully these patterns can help you understand what lies ahead on the road to recovery.
Before we dig in, let’s clarify the difference between a mild/minor stroke and a “mini” stroke to make sure we’re on the same page.
What Exactly Is a “Mild” Stroke?
A stroke is considered mild when it results in minor impairments. Gross motor skills like arm and leg movement are often unaffected; but fine motor skills like finger dexterity can be impacted.
It’s important to understand that a mild stroke does not always refer to a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Although TIAs are also known as “mini strokes,” they don’t leave permanent damage.
Generally speaking, if the symptoms of stroke last less than 24 hours, it’s a TIA. But if brain lesions are detected by a brain scan, it could be diagnosed as a mild stroke.
Patients that sustain mild or minor strokes don’t usually require intensive rehabilitation because the side effects are minimal. When the stroke’s impact is mild, the brain recovers much faster.
But how long does it take to heal the brain after a minor stroke?
How Long Does Mild Stroke Recovery Take?
If you had a mild stroke, your stroke recovery timeline will probably be shorter than others.
It’s common to spend some initial time at the hospital. But instead of going to an inpatient rehab facility (where most patients go), mild stroke patients are often discharged straight home.
The smaller your stroke deficits are, the more likely you are to go straight home after the hospital. Your rehabilitation team should instruct you on how to continue rehabilitation at home before discharge.
Because mild stroke does not cause major impairments, recovery is usually fast. Often, mild stroke recovery takes between 3-6 months.
Gross motor skills are largely unaffected or recover quickly. Some common lingering effects of a mild stroke include difficulty with fine motor skills and balance issues.
Fortunately, with a rigorous physical therapy regimen, most mild stroke survivors can achieve a full recovery, or get very close to one.
How to Speed Up Mild Stroke Recovery
It’s important to know that the first 3 months after stroke matter the most.
During this period, your brain is in a heightened state of neuroplasticity, which means that your brain is healing at a rapid rate.
Patients recovering from moderate or severe stroke often spend these first few months at an inpatient rehab facility. At these facilities, patients participate in multiple hours of physical therapy every day.
With most mild stroke patients skipping inpatient rehab, it’s imperative to participate in a rigorous at-home therapy program during the first few months. This will help patients regain motor skills as quickly as possible.
Patients that miss this “window of opportunity” are still in luck, because the brain is always changing throughout our lives. Although the process does not occurs as rapidly after the first 3 months, neuroplasticity never stops.
If you want to regain lost motor skills after a mild stroke, just pick physical therapy at home back up. Even if you took a break for years, the brain will respond if you start putting in the work.
Mild Stroke Recovery
Overall, mild stroke recovery usually takes about 3-6 months. Usually, gross motor skills remain unaffected but it’s common to experience difficulty with fine motor skills and balance.
Because impairments are smaller than massive stroke, mild stroke survivors have a higher chance of a full recovery.
As long as you keep pushing and put in the hard work, you will achieve a healthy recovery.