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Are You Asking Your Doctor These 10 Important Questions to Enhance Your Stroke Recovery?

I often hear from my patients that they only get a few minutes with their doctor, need to remember to ask important questions, or need help knowing what to ask. That's why I've compiled a list of essential questions you can ask your doctor to understand your stroke and recovery better. Don't worry if not all of them apply to you - focus on the ones that do! Oh, and there's a handy PDF you can download and print at the end of the list. That way, you can bring it to the doctor's office and always remember what you wanted to ask. Plus, there's space for you to write down your questions and answers.

You may have additional questions about your stroke beyond the ones mentioned here. Many online resources are more generalized, such as what exercises to do. Therefore, use this brief period to ask specific questions addressing your unique situation, recovery progress, and current health status.



10 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor Next Visit to Improve Your Stroke Recovery


1. How severe was my stroke, and what parts of my brain were affected?


Understanding the location and severity of the stroke can help predict the type of deficits you might experience and the duration of recovery. This information will give you a better understanding of the recovery timeline and the areas that may have been impacted.


2. What deficits do I now have because of the stroke?


Identifying the specific deficits caused by a stroke is crucial to developing effective recovery interventions. Examples of common deficits include aphasia, apraxia, and hemiplegia. Determining the particular deficits allows you to plan a more complete recovery.

3. What medications am I on, and what are their purposes? What side effects should I look for?

You must comprehend your medications' intended purposes and potential side effects. Avoid taking any unnecessary medications. You may recognize issues with your medications sooner than your doctor can. Monitor your well-being and determine whether the medications are achieving their intended goals.

4. Are there lifestyle changes I should make to prevent another stroke?


It's important to know that 1 in 4 stroke survivors are at risk of having another stroke. The good news is that about 80% of strokes are caused by lifestyle factors, so adjusting your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of another stroke.

It is essential to talk to your doctor to make the right lifestyle changes specific to your needs. Ask them for advice on what changes you can create and for resources that can help you achieve your goals. These lifestyle changes will reduce your risk of another stroke and help your body heal from the first one.


5. Is it safe for me to drive, and if not, when might it be?

Giving up driving can be difficult, especially after suffering a minor stroke that affects your cognitive abilities or slows down your reaction times, making you unsafe on the road. It is essential to consult with your doctor regarding your ability to drive. If driving is unsafe for you, ask your doctor if there is a certified driving rehabilitative specialist in your area who can help you regain your driving skills.

6. Are there local support groups or online resources you recommend for stroke survivors?


Your doctor can connect you to valuable community resources, like support groups, social services, or handouts, to aid in your recovery.

7. Can occupational, physical, or speech therapy help me? If so, can you make a referral?

It is important to make the most of your therapy sessions and try to get additional therapy if your insurance approves it. Seeking out neurotherapists could be more beneficial for your recovery. Stroke recovery is a chronic condition, and most people do not make full or near-full recoveries in their first attempt. You may require therapy on and off for some time. Follow your therapists' guidance or visit our website for more information to continue your recovery even after treatment has stopped.

8. Do I have any limitations in therapy?


Acknowledging and respecting your limitations during therapy is crucial to ensure your body is safe during the healing process. For instance, if you are experiencing a shoulder subluxation, any overhead movement using that shoulder should be avoided unless your doctor or therapist has advised you on how to perform it safely.


9. Do you recommend any treatments for my spasticity?

Managing spasticity is crucial for a successful recovery. Spasticity manifests differently in each person, and some may experience severe spasticity that requires extra treatment, such as oral baclofen, botox injections, or even baclofen pumps. Neglecting spasticity management can hinder recovery and increase the risk of permanent joint or muscle contractures, severely limiting recovery potential.

10. Do I need any orders for hand or foot orthotics?


Similar to the previous point, orthotics for the hand assist in positioning the hand securely, safeguarding the joints of the wrist and fingers from contractures. Similarly, ankle-foot orthotics support individuals with a drop foot and aid in their safe and quick return to walking. These solutions are temporary and meant to protect and facilitate recovery.


Wrap Up


These are the ten questions every stroke survivor should ask their doctor to understand their deficits better and begin their journey toward stroke recovery.


If you want to improve your recovery, ask your doctor specific questions. I recently wrote a blog post about how having high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing vascular cognitive dementia and slow down your recovery. I also shared some tips on lowering your blood pressure in the post. Check it out for more information.


Remember to download the PDF question sheet to be prepared with questions that will empower you on your stroke recovery journey.


Wishing you a fast recovery in the journey ahead!



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