1–3 Months Post-Stroke

β€œThe first three months after a stroke are the most important for recovery and when patients will see the most improvement,” says Raghavan. During this time, most patients will enter and complete an inpatient rehabilitation program, or make progress in their outpatient therapy sessions.

The goal of rehabilitation is to restore function as close as possible to prestroke levels or develop compensation strategies to work around a functional impairment. An example of a compensation strategy is learning to hold a toothpaste tube so the strong hand can unscrew the cap.

Spontaneous Recovery

During the first three months after a stroke, a patient might experience a phenomenon called spontaneous recovery β€” a skill or ability that seemed lost to the stroke returns suddenly as the brain finds new ways to perform tasks.

Anticipating Setbacks

Some patients will experience setbacks in the months after a stroke, like pneumonia, a heart attack or a second stroke. These challenges can have significant effects physically, mentally and emotionally, and rehabilitation might need to be put on hold. It is important to work with your care team to adjust rehabilitation goals when there are setbacks.

Exploring New Treatments

While physical, occupational and speech therapies remain the key components of stroke rehabilitation, researchers are always coming up with new ways to enhance or supplement these treatments. One innovative technique is noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS), which uses weak electrical currents to stimulate areas of the brain associated with specific tasks like movement or speech. This stimulation can help boost the effects of therapy. Another innovation is a new treatment for spasticity and muscle stiffness that does not produce muscle weakness using an injectable enzyme. In addition, technology-assisted rehabilitation can extend rehabilitation by targeting specific actions or processes in an engaging way.


There are many problems that may happen after a stroke. Most are common and will improve with time and rehabilitation.

Common physical conditions after a stroke include:


An MRI can detect brain tissue damaged by an ischemic stroke and brain hemorrhages. Your doctor may inject a dye into a blood vessel to view the arteries and veins and highlight blood flow (magnetic resonance angiography or magnetic resonance venography).