More than 700.000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States. Two thirds of these individuals survive and require rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relarn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged and teaches survivors new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compensate for any residual disabilities.

The types and degrees of disability that follow a stroke depend on which area of the brain is damage and how much is damaged. Some of them could be: paralysis or problems controlling movement (motor control), sensory disturbances including pain, problems using or understanding language (aphasia), problems with thinking and memory and emotional disturbances.

Rehabilitation should begin as soon as a stroke patient is stable, sometimes within 24 to 48 hours after a stroke. This first stage of rehabilitation can occur within an acute-care hospital. However, it is very dependent on the unique circumstances of the individual patient.

Researchers found that functional improvements could be seen as late as one year afterthe stroke, which goes against the conventional wisdom that most recovery is complete by 6 months. The trial showed that 52 percent of the participants made significant improvements in walking, everyday function, and quality of life, regardless of how severe their impairment was, or whether they started the training at 2 or 6 months after the stroke.

Read more about Post stroke rehabilitation


Prepared by: Office of Communications and Public Liaison National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services Bethesda, Maryland 20892 2540
NIH Publication No. 11 1846 April 2011