Effects of Stroke Lesions and Timing of Rehabilitation on the Compensatory Movement Patterns During Stroke Recovery

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2022 Nov 1;101(11):1031-1037. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001968. Epub 2022 Jan 21.


Objectives: The aims of this study were to distinguish between behavioral compensation and behavioral recovery and to determine the role of stroke lesions and the optimal timing of rehabilitation in true recovery.

Design: Single pellet reaching test has been performed to analyze both quantitative and qualitative measures of forelimb function in a stroke animal model with lesions in the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, or sensorimotor cortex. The four gestures of compensatory movement patterns that comprised a reach were head lift, limb withdrawal, pellet chasing, and phantom grasp.

Results: Functional recovery improved in all the stroke groups after rehabilitation ( P < 0.001). However, the compensatory movement patterns of the motor cortex and somatosensory cortex stroke groups initially increased and subsequently decreased ( P = 0.0054), whereas those of the sensorimotor cortex stroke group increased and persisted ( P = 0.0063). In the sensorimotor cortex stroke group, compensatory movement patterns significantly decreased when training was initiated 5 and 14 days after stroke ( P = 0.0083, P = 0.0226, respectively), while they increased and persisted when training was initiated 1 day after stroke.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that true recovery by task-specific training after stroke depends, probably, on the lesion size and the timing of rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forelimb / pathology
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex*
  • Motor Skills
  • Movement
  • Recovery of Function
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Stroke*