Hemiparesis and hemiplegia are common consequences after a stroke affecting the motor cortex on either side of the brain. Fortunately, many people with paralysis can improve their condition or at least adapt to their changes with stroke recovery treatments, such as the following.


Although you may not think of nutrition as a rehabilitative strategy, it is important for gaining or maintaining strength after a stroke, and if necessary, keeping your weight lower. Nutritional concerns can be more complex, depending on the severity of the stroke and the acute impacts, such as the inability to consume nutrition by mouth, or being confined to bed for weeks or months following a stroke. Adequate vitamins, minerals, and protein can help with preserving strength so your unaffected side can be used to help with recovery from weakness or paralysis. Additionally, engaging in a medically supervised weight loss diet will make it easier to engage in physical therapy so you are less hindered by your weight.

Passive Recovery

Part of improving or restoring lost function on your affected side will be to engage in passive recovery. This includes members of your care team manipulating your arm and leg to reduce muscle atrophy and keep your extremities limber. If you are confined to the bed, help with movement can also reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers that could become infected. Depending on the strength you have on your unaffected side, you can help yourself with passive recovery activities. You can use your unaffected hand to help manipulate the joints of your arm and hand, or leg.

Active Recovery

Active recovery involves participating in your own rehabilitation as much as possible. For example, if you are able to use a wheelchair, the goal will be to get into the chair with little or no outside help. Similarly, people who are able to stand may practice taking small steps by using their unaffected leg primarily, and somewhat carrying their paralyzed limb along. Although walking in this manner is difficult and laborious, it strengthens the dominant limb and may serve as a way to keep people motivated to keep pushing to do more. Sometimes active recovery may result in subtle improvements, such as the increase in slight movements of the affected limbs. Doing as much as you can to strengthen your unaffected side, such as using exercise bands or lifting weights, will also help with gaining more independence after a stroke.

Hemiparesis and hemiplegia can be disabling consequences of a stroke. With significant rehabilitation, many people are able to maintain their independence, even with limitations.