Stroke rehabilitation

Source: Shutterstock

Stroke Rehabilitation: The Key to Your Recovery?

Last updated: Friday, May 14, 2021 | 5 min reading time

No two strokes are the same. Early rehabilitation and good family support are essential to facilitate good recovery once your condition is medically stable. Find out what are your options in speeding up recovery after a stroke.

What is a stroke?

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted either due to a blockage (ischaemic stroke) or a rupture to the blood vessels (haemorrhagic stroke). When you have a stroke, the side of your body opposite to the affected side of the brain, may become weak and numb. The size and location of the damage will affect the rate and extent of recovery of the stroke survivor.

Recovery from a stroke

Treatment of stroke depends on the type and location of the clot, obstruction or bleeding that caused it. A stroke is an emergency and your doctor will administer the most appropriate treatment option, one of which is anti-clotting medication, as soon as they determine what is the cause of the stroke, in order to minimise damage to your brain cells which can occur within minutes of a stroke attack.

Stroke rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation is important to recover the functional abilities that may have been lost after a stroke. Rehabilitation may commence as early as 24 – 48 hours after a stroke, or once you are deemed as medically stable by your doctor. Rehabilitation will include exercises as well as functional mobility training such as walking, and performing activities of daily living or swallowing therapy.

Where does stroke rehabilitation take place?


Stroke rehabilitation
Post-stroke physiotherapy will focus on regaining range of motions, physical strength, balance, coordination and movement abilities that were affected by the stroke. The physiotherapist will work closely with you on a mutually set functional goals and work towards regaining as much of the lost functions as possible. Post-stroke physiotherapy will typically include the following:

Occupational therapy

Speech therapy

The importance of stroke rehabilitation

Importance of stroke rehabilitation
Stroke survivors are always treated with the long-term goal of regaining as much control over their bodies as possible and returning to the highest possible level of independence in their lives. Stroke rehabilitation is an essential part of rewiring neural pathways and connections in your brain to achieve this goal. There is still an element of unpredictability with every stroke case, but often with the right rehabilitation in place, patients can make remarkable recoveries.

How long does it take to recover from a stroke?

For every 100,000 Singaporeans, 165 are affected by stroke. Stroke is serious but often preventable, so it's important to stay in good health and keep an eye on the warning signs. If you do suffer from a stroke, rehabilitation is necessary to give you the best chance of recovery.

Your recovery from stroke can be impacted by:

The rehabilitation process for a stroke usually takes around 3 – 6 months depending on the severity of the stroke. Some patients will need care for much longer or for life. Though many stroke survivors need to make significant adjustments to their lives, rehabilitation should be ongoing. You can continue to undergo rehabilitation at home or as an outpatient, and many patients report seeing continued improvements in the years that follow.

Factors that affect stroke recovery

The severity of stroke complications and each person's ability to recover vary widely. Focused stroke rehabilitation programs are therefore helpful in helping people to recover better.

In general, the success of a stroke rehabilitation program depends on:

Maintenance therapy

It is important to follow the guidelines set by your doctor and rehabilitation team post-stroke. Supplementing your rehabilitation programme with home exercises and continuing to work on your recovery after the programme ends are likely to increase your chance of regaining your abilities.

Speak to your doctor or physiotherapist about:

Preventing a stroke

Prevent a stroke
Strokes are more common in those with underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a good level of overall health to prevent the occurrence of a stroke.

Watch out for these symptoms:

If you or a family member exhibits any of these symptoms, go to the nearest Urgent Care Centre (UCC) immediately. Remember, the faster a stroke is treated, the less chance there is of permanent damage.

Beckerman, J. (2017, February 3) Understanding Stroke Symptoms. Retrieved 05/05/19 from

Beckerman, J. (2018, March 14) Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved 05/05/19 from

Rehabilitation Therapy After A Stroke (ND). Retrieved 04/05/19 from

Smith, M.W. (2012, June 1) Stroke Recovery And Arm Rehab. Retrieved 04/05/19 from

Steinbaum, S. (2017, July 15) Rehab After A Stroke: What To Expect. Retrieved 04/05/19 from

Stroke in Singapore Facts and Figures (NRDO). Retrieved 12/05/19 from

What Is Stroke (ND). Retrieved 04/05/19 from

World Health Organisation: Stroke: a global response is needed. (2016, September) Retrieved 04/05/19 from

Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Fact Sheet. (2020, May 13) Retrieved April 26, 2021, from

Stroke Rehabilitation: What to Expect as you Recover. (2019, April 17) Retrieved April 26, 2021, from

Article tags

Getting medical care