Ask an Expert: How Long Will it Take to Recover From a Stroke and When Should I Start Therapy?

Question: How long will it take to recover from a stroke and when should I start therapy?

Answer: Every stroke is different, just as every person is different. Generally, you will see the most improvement or recovery within six months to a year. After a year, recovery and improvements are still possible, however, the rate of recovery tends to slow down.

To minimize disability and improve your recovery, therapies should begin as soon as possible. It is common for patients to think they need to rest after a stroke, but research shows greater improvements if you start therapy 24-48 hours post stroke.

There are various factors that may affect your rate of recovery including:

  • Severity of stroke regarding physical and cognitive aspects
  • Emotional factors that affect mood and motivation
  • Social environment and support of family/friends

It is normal to experience a wide range of difficulties or “bumps” along the way that could impede or slow progress including other medical complications. Once you have a stroke, you are at a higher risk to have a another stroke. It is important to continue to monitor blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate, take all prescribed medications, follow up with doctors, and continue with therapies.

Erica Howard, PT, DPT