The goal of stroke rehabilitation is to help you relearn skills you lost when a stroke affected part of your brain. Stroke rehabilitation can help you regain independence and improve your quality of life.
The severity of stroke complications and each person's ability to recover vary widely. Researchers have found that people who participate in a focused stroke rehabilitation program perform better than most people who don't have stroke rehabilitation.
There are many approaches to stroke rehabilitation. Your rehabilitation plan will depend on the part of the body or type of ability affected by your stroke.
Physical activities might include:
- Motor-skill exercises. These exercises can help improve your muscle strength and coordination. You might have therapy to strengthen your swallowing.
- Mobility training. You might learn to use mobility aids, such as a walker, canes, wheelchair or ankle brace. The ankle brace can stabilize and strengthen your ankle to help support your body's weight while you relearn to walk.
- Constraint-induced therapy. An unaffected limb is restrained while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function. This therapy is sometimes called forced-use therapy.
- Range-of-motion therapy. Certain exercises and treatments can ease muscle tension (spasticity) and help you regain range of motion.
Technology-assisted physical activities might include:
- Functional electrical stimulation. Electricity is applied to weakened muscles, causing them to contract. The electrical stimulation may help re-educate your muscles.
- Robotic technology. Robotic devices can assist impaired limbs with performing repetitive motions, helping the limbs to regain strength and function.
- Wireless technology. An activity monitor might help you increase post-stroke activity.
- Virtual reality. The use of video games and other computer-based therapies involves interacting with a simulated, real-time environment.
Cognitive and emotional activities might include:
- Therapy for cognitive disorders. Occupational therapy and speech therapy can help you with lost cognitive abilities, such as memory, processing, problem-solving, social skills, judgment and safety awareness.
- Therapy for communication disorders. Speech therapy can help you regain lost abilities in speaking, listening, writing and comprehension.
- Psychological evaluation and treatment. Your emotional adjustment might be tested. You might also have counseling or participate in a support group.
- Medication. Your doctor might recommend an antidepressant or a medication that affects alertness, agitation or movement.