Information About Stroke and Stroke Recovery


The information contained in this web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult with your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned or have any questions.

Dave Dowd recounts his experiences of the first sixteen days in hospital after his stroke and how he started to recover after being told that he would never care for himself again.

Stroke survivor and board member Allison Staff at the Heart & Stroke Gala in Brandon, MB, speaking about her stroke experience and recovery with the help of the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba.

Left Side vs Right Side Stroke Recovery

Movement-wise vs Function-wise

After stroke, your doctor or neurologist probably told you which part of your brain was damaged.

And if they didn’t – try contacting someone to figure it out because the location of your stroke has a significant impact on your recovery.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between left vs right side stroke recovery and how long it tends to take.

Then we will introduce other critical pieces of stroke education that we think you should know.

So, What’s the Difference?

Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize in 1981, for his work on what is now commonly known as right brain-left brain thinking. Sperry theorized that some very specific activities were controlled by one side of the human brain or the other — for example, the right side controlled creative tasks, while the left side was where logic, language and reasoning lived.

Are you right-brained or left-brained?

Each part of the brain controls a different function.

Movement-wise, your left brain controls the right side of your body and your right brain controls your left side.

Function-wise, your left brain controls logic and your right brain controls creativity.

(The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981 was divided, one half awarded to Roger W. Sperry “for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres”, the other half jointly to David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel “for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system”.

Specifically, some of the tasks commonly associated with the right side of the brain are:

  • Creativity
  • Intuition
  • Imagination
  • Facial recognition
  • Emotion
  • Music
  • Arts
  • Thinking in images

Other tasks associated with the left side of the brain are:

  • Logic
  • Analysis
  • Sequencing
  • Mathematics
  • Language
  • Critical thinking
  • Reasoning
  • Thinking in words

When a stroke damages part of the brain, it hinders your ability to perform whatever tasks that part of the brain used to control.

For example, someone with a left-side stroke may suffer from aphasia, the inability to understand or express language – a left brain task. Someone with a right-side stroke may suffer from emotional lability, which includes involuntary outbursts of emotion – a right-brained task.

It’s important to understand which side of your brain was affected by stroke because it will help you identify why certain side effects are happening.

How Long Will It Take?

Every stroke is different, therefore every stroke recovery is different.

However, there are some general patterns that you should be aware of:

  • One month after stroke you will progress rapidly as your brain rapidly tries to heal itself after injury
  • Three months after stroke you will continue to progress at a quick pace
  • After 3 months, progress will slow down but it will not stop as long as you continue rehabilitation

After the first few months, things really start to vary from person to person. Those who had a severe stroke may continue to rehab for years. Those who had a minor stroke may rehab for only a few more dedicated months.

It all depends on the size and location of your stroke and how much unwavering dedication you have to rehab.

Better Questions to Ask

Perhaps you already knew these things. Perhaps you’re looking for more specific information about how long it takes to recover from your specific stroke.

While specific, detailed information about left – or right-brained stroke recovery don’t exist, there are better questions that you can ask instead, like:

These questions will lead to far better answers that will help you take more positive action towards your recovery.

And if you really want to gain proper understanding of stroke recovery, see our Survivor’s Guide to Becoming a Stroke Recovery Expert.

Source view April 13, 2017: Flint Rehab – Tools to Spark Recovery

The information contained in this web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult with your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned or have any questions.

35th-Anniversary-2What is a stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack.  A stroke is the result of a block or hemorrhage of a blood vessel in the brain. When the blood flow is cut off, oxygen and nutrients are used up. Brain cells begin to die.

Immediate medical attention is required when a person experiences the warning signs of a stroke. If you experience one or more of the following warning signs, contact your doctor.

Warning Signs:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking dizziness, lose of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
What causes strokes?

A stroke is when an area of the brain is deprived of its blood supply for 24 hours or more-usually because of a blockage or burst blood vessel¬causing vital brain tissue to die. It’s essentially the same as what happens in the arteries leading to the heart when someone has a heart attack, which is why a stroke is sometimes described as a “brain attack.”

Eleven stroke prevention guidelines:

  1. Know your blood pressure.
  2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (very rapid uncoordinated contractions of the atria of the heart).
  3. If you smoke, stop.
  4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  5. Know your cholesterol number.
  6. If you have diabetes, control your diabetes.
  7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine.
  8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet.
  9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems.
  10. If you have any stroke symptoms, seek immediate help.
  11. Avoid neck manipulation – a primary treatment technique consisting of the applied pulling and twisting. In 2001, the Canadian Stroke Consortium stated that neck manipulation is one of the leading causes of stroke in the under 45 age group.

35th-Anniversary-3Is it a stroke?  Remember the 1st three letters!!!

Thank God for the sense to remember the “3” steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

  • “S” – Ask the individual to SMILE.
  • “T” – TALK.  Ask the person to speak a simple sentence. (Coherently – i.e. . . It is sunny out today)
  • “R” = Ask him or her to RAISE both arms.

Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out their tongue… if the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Warning signs of a ‘brain attack’

A STROKE, sometimes called a “brain attack”, occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When a stroke occurs, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.

There are two major kinds of stroke. The first, called an ischemic stroke, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic. The second, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.

NJD-DayAlthough stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems. Patients may also experience pain or numbness after a stroke.

Because stroke injures the brain, you may not realize that you are having a stroke. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may just look unaware or confused. Stroke victims have the best chance if someone around them recognizes the symptoms and acts quickly.

The symptoms of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you believe someone is having a stroke –
if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, or move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side –
call for an ambulance at 911 immediately!