Recovering from a stroke is a process that can take months, years, and even decades. If you want to know how long it will take for you to recover from a stroke, you will first need to learn how the stroke has affected you.
We’ve broken down a timeline that you can refer to based on the experiences of other stroke survivors. Your recovery may not involve the same processes, but it’s a benchmark that you can refer to as needed.
Stage 1: Immediate Stroke Treatment and Rehabilitation
The first part of the stroke recovery timeline is active stroke treatment and rehabilitation. This starts in the hospital, during which your handling physician will observe the effects of the stroke and provide treatment and rehabilitation as needed.
Such treatments, as mentioned, will be different based on how the stroke affects you. You might be prescribed blood thinners (for preventing blood clots), recommended to a speech-language therapist (in case you manifest a speech disorder) or physical therapist, given pain medication, and more.
During this period, around the 2-week mark, approximately 50% of patients will experience recovery. Rehabilitation with professionals should continue until your brain reaches the “plateau” stage where the brain’s plasticity (which allows for faster recovery) begins to slow down.
Stage 2: Long-Term Rehabilitation
After you are discharged from rehabilitation centers, recovery will not necessarily cease. From this point forward, outpatient therapy will commence. This is the point where it becomes important that you develop a rehabilitation routine at your home.
Again, these routines will be different based on what complications you face as a result of your stroke. The first point of interest comes at the 6th-month mark, wherein 65-85% of patients who experience a lack of coordination and imbalance as a result of their stroke are said to recover.
The second starts at the 1st year mark, where patients who experience aphasia (and other speech disorders) are said to make a significant recovery. The third, and final marking point is at the 2nd year, where patients who suffered from severe strokes and experience post-stroke paralysis are said to see improvements in their mobility.
Stage 3: Recovery Continues
Most patients have experienced recovery, at some degree, by this point, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Recovery continues and is still possible even after the first ten or twenty years. So long as you persist with your rehabilitation, the potential for independence is still achievable.
- Wade, D T, et al. “Recovery after Stroke–the First 3 Months.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 1985, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3973623.
- Eng, Janice J, and Pei-Fang Tang. “Gait Training Strategies to Optimize Walking Ability in People with Stroke: a Synthesis of the Evidence.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3196659/#R6.