Using the Internet to Help Manage Your Health After a Stroke

Once you have had a stroke, you will probably turn to the same place for comfort, information and a sense of community that you turned to before your stroke. For many, that place is the Internet.

Most of us live on the Internet and with the Internet. It has become interwoven into our ‘real life.’ Health is a huge part of all of our lives, and, naturally we turn to the Internet to help manage our health. As a physician, I have even done so myself. I have come across some great information, but I have also seen some truly off-the-wall ideas and even some dangerous advice.

There are different ways that you can use the Internet to help navigate your own health.


The Internet is, above all, fun. True, there is a bit of an addictive quality to that fun, as the fast pace, real-time updates and bright colors keep you coming back. There are probably a billion articles, pictures and videos that you could click on, and, of course, you click on those that are fun for you. That won't change after a stroke. You will still be able to use the Internet for amusement.

However, if you are suddenly living with new disabilities after your stroke, you might be tempted to turn to the virtual world more than you did prior to your stroke. It is important to avoid becoming consumed by the Internet, even as you use it for enjoyment.


The Internet is the place where you can find your own personal brand of humor among about a thousand other brands. Humor and entertainment can elevate your mood, which is an important part of stroke recovery.

Feeling like part of a group

The Internet is full of chat rooms and popular blogs. This can be great if you feel out of touch or if you are having difficulty in finding people who are going through exactly what you are going through. Online communities can help you feel connected. Of course, while most people are genuine, it is important to beware of weirdoes online!

Excellent information

There is an abundance of information on the Internet- some from excellent sources. You can find the answer to many of your questions about whether or not physical therapy is exhausting, whether strokes affect left-handed people differently than right-handed, about blood thinners and their side effects, whether pregnancy can increase your stroke risk, and just about anything else you might think of.

However, much of the material available on the Internet is designed to sell products and services rather than to actually inform you. And, unfortunately, the Internet is the free and easy soapbox for people who want to shout out their views, even if those views are unsubstantiated.

Help with sticky situations

You may encounter situations related to your stroke that are particularly sensitive or embarrassing to talk about. While you really shouldn’t hesitate to ask your doctor embarrassing questions about your health, you may be able to find some sensible insight or great suggestions for how to handle unusual situations or interpersonal challenges when you look online.


The Internet is a great way to find real life resources. Do you need an unusual type of splint? You can hunt it down online. Unsure whether your physical therapist is covered under your health insurance plan? There is probably a link online. Locating your specific needs may be tricky because these items are not always easy to find, but some patience and Internet savvy can go a long way if you have an esoteric request.

Beware of needless panic

There are also some downright crazy websites, articles, and videos. There are ridiculous stories designed to make you panic. Why? It is very simple. Crazy, bizarre and amazing stories get more clicks. Don't fall for everything you see online. Learn how to differentiate the best of the Internet from the worst of the Internet so you can use it to manage your health.

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