These stroke recovery tips start with the brain and and end with your lifestyle… Why? Because stroke recovery is about more than just the ‘brain thing.’ It’s about the ‘life thing,’ too.
So we’ll start with some basic tips on healing the brain after stroke, and then we’ll cover 3 other important topics:
You can pick and choose which stroke recovery tips you like, but we encourage you to stick around for the full show.
1. Master the Rewiring Process
To rewire your brain after stroke, you need to utilize repetitive practice (repeating an exercise over and over) to trigger neuroplasticity, the mechanism that your brain uses to heal itself after injury.
Neuroplasticity is the #1 thing to focus on during stroke recovery. Become an expert on it and you won’t regret it.
A great book that goes into depth on the subject is called The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. It’s one of our top recommended stroke recovery books.
2. Keep Your Nutrition Game Up
If you do these things, then you’ll be consuming a diet that supports your body’s healing.
3. Don’t Fall for the Plateau
The plateau is real – but the word itself is so deceiving! When results slow down after the first few months of recovery, don’t mistake it for a dead end.
Recovery will only stop when you stop.
You can bust through the plateau by keeping your regimen consistent but varied with different exercises.
4. Avoid Permanent Lopsidedness
During stroke recovery, the phrase “use it or lose it” is commonly used by therapists to describe the clinical condition of learned nonuse.
Learned nonuse occurs when you completely stop using your affected limb, and after a while your brain literally forgets how to use it.
The best way to avoid learned nonuse is to move your affected limbs at least a little bit every day.
5. Permanently Treat Pain and Spasticity
Localized pain can be treated with heat packs and medication, which can provide the relief you need to carry out necessary tasks. These treatments, however, are short-term and temporary.
To get long-term relief from painful spastic muscles, you need to relieve the spasticity. How do you get rid of spasticity?
By dutifully performing your rehab exercises so that your brain regains control over your spastic muscles – and they relax. Again, it’s all about neuroplasticity.
6. You Don’t Know What Works…
…Until you’ve tried them all.
Something that worked for a friend might not work for you, or it could be the best thing ever! But you won’t know until you try.
7. Get Tons of Sleep
Sleep helps improve movement recovery after stroke by giving your brain a chance to process and retain all the information it learned from the day’s exercises.
Sleep also helps reduce fatigue, irritability, and toxic buildup in your brain.
It what stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who survived a massive stroke, rates sleep as her #1 recommendation for recovery after stroke.
8. Prevent It from Happening Again
Stroke survivors are at higher risk of experiencing another stroke, so prevention is key.
This isn’t the perfect formula, but they’re great guidelines for a generally healthy lifestyle that promotes good health and vitality.
9. Deal with Misbehaving Feet
If you want to regain normal use of your feet without AFOs, then rehab exercises combined with TENS therapy can help get you there.
It’s strongly suggested that you continue to do rehab exercises for your feet and legs because the use of AFOs will make the conditions worse since you won’t be exercising those muscles at all.