A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off or reduced, either by a clot, a bleed or a mass like a cyst or tumour. This will result in the brain being damaged, meaning that movement and feeling are reduced, usually down one side of the body. A stroke can also affect speech, swallowing, balance and the emotions. Over time, some of the damaged areas of the brain start to get better and recovery can happen.
Recovery from a stroke is usually fastest in the first weeks, but this is variable. Recovery can continue for several years.
Treatment will be focussed on improving those parts of your body that are not working properly. This will be a combination of reminding muscles how they should work, 'switching off' muscles that are working too hard, and strengthening muscles that are weak. Sometimes people have developed habits that are stopping them from making further progress, and these habits may need to be reversed.
The specific goals will be different for each person, but being able to move from one position to another is very important and will be a priority. This may be rolling over in bed and sitting on the side, or it may be walking and managing stairs.
Rehabilitation will also help to prevent secondary complications, such as poor posture, weaker muscles, reduced stamina and tight joints which can develop from not being able to move about freely.
Recovery from a stroke is hard work, and you will need to work closely with your physiotherapist to get the best results.