What happens 5 years post stroke?

A stroke occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, however dealing with stroke after effects can take several years. In this article read about what happens 5 years post stroke and what can be expected during this time.

In the early rehabilitation period, stroke survivors may experience different kinds of attitudes. Most common thoughts are:

  • "I am going to recover very quickly. Just a little bit longer, and I will be completely fine!"
  • "This process will be long, but I am ready to work such that I get better!"
  • "What's the point in trying, nothing is going to change anyways.."

It is understandable to have such thoughts since it's the first experience with stroke for most people. Their expectations also alternate with the doctors' forecasts about their recovery. Every case is unique and no outcome can be immediately dismissed. Research shows that neuroplasticity is active throughout lifetime.

What can be expected during the first years of recovery?

Initially a stroke survivor will require a rigorous rehabilitation regimen and support from the medical team since most of the recovery results will be observed during the first year post stroke. You can also achieve good results years post stroke. However it will be much easier to learn correct movement at the beginning, instead of unlearn incorrect habits and then relearn them correctly. That's why it is important to pay attention to activities that give long term as well as short term functional results. In order to achieve the best results possible, you should begin rehabilitation as fast as possible.

VIGO can serve as a good aid for recovering from stroke. It is available upon request and it can be used at home. VIGO combines the "Gold standard" for stroke rehabilitation. It contains emotional support through CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques, physiotherapy exercises in order to improve functional abilities and educating materials about stroke causes, after effects and ways to recover.

After hospitalization and acute care, the patient will be appointed for inpatient rehabilitation at a rehabilitation center. However it is possible that you may have to wait before the appointed course. Therefore we suggest that when consulting with your doctor, you consider rehabilitation at home.

During the first stage of rehabilitation, recovery will happen very quickly, even on a weekly basis. However it will be a result of hard work.

What is the active period for neuroplasticity?

The active period for neuroplasticity is the time period after trauma when the body is trying to use its resources to "mend" or to compensate the damaged part of the brain. It is necessary to create new neural pathways to replace the damaged ones. Several studies have proven that damage at a certain part of the brain makes the brain actively react. Furthermore, that causes neuroplasticity and stimulates fast renewal of bodily function.

Neuroplasticity in case of brain damage is like building a new road to replace the old one. Meaning, when an old road that is unfit for driving needs to be replaced for a new one. It can be shifted to one side or the other yet will lead to the same destination. Same thing happens with the reorganizing of the brain map. When one neural pathway is damaged, it can be replaced by a new one which can be located at a different area (even in the opposite side of the brain), but will lead to a particular body movement or destination.

To promote this recovery, it is necessary to do seemingly redundant exercises often and correctly. This will help build new neural pathways that control movement.

Even though the creation of neural pathways happen throughout lifetime, the active period for neuroplasticity is unique for each individual. After stroke it can last up to one year.

What happens after the active period for neuroplasticity?

The most significant and fastest changes will happen during the first year post stroke, however rehabilitation shouldn't be stopped even when you think you have reached the maximum results. When you've reached your goal, consider whether it is possible and necessary to modify the exercises, increasing the difficulty level. However exercises should only be modified such that they are safe for the stroke survivor's physical and mental health, yet challenging enough.

It is proven that patients who perform exercises for physiotherapy and fine motor skills five days a week reach very good results within five years. And in case of a less severe stroke, a complete recovery is possible during this time. However patients who had a more severe or a very severe stroke will need more time.

5 years post stroke - What comes next?

It is difficult to forecast the exact results that can be achieved within five years time since it depends on various factors. It depends on the stroke survivor's previous physical state, age, rehabilitation intensity, motivation and other factors. However it is possible to reach new heights after the five year mark as well.

After 5 years post stroke or more, with a rigorous rehabilitation at least five days a week, the stroke survivor still has a potential to improve their physical state. VIGO offers rehabilitation six days a week with an option to exercise on the seventh day, performing existing exercises of the week. Therefore it serves as a great tool for staying active and continuing your recovery even years post stroke. The best results can be attained if you start using the program in the first few days after returning home from acute rehabilitation hospital. This tool offers a personalized rehabilitation program for each individual's functional state, and the exercise plans are created with the help of medical professionals

To sign up for VIGO, write to hello@vigo.health