Recovering from a stroke is not easy, but with a practical and manageable rehabilitation plan in place, recovery is achievable.
Stroke is the leading cause for long-term disability in seniors, and it can have lasting physical, mental, and emotional effects. The aftermath of a stroke can be a traumatic time for the person that suffered the stroke, as well as their family members.
Healing the Brain
A stroke occurs as the result of damage to blood vessels or arteries in the brain. Arteries can either become blocked, cutting off the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, or they can rupture and burst, bleeding into the brain.
Either way, the main focus is on healing the brain and rewiring it to help repair and regenerate damaged brain cells.
Effective Practices for Stroke Recovery Ottawa
The majority of brain recovery after a stroke is generally accomplished in the first 3 or 4 months, so it is important to begin the healing immediately.
There are several helpful practices to implement into your recovery plan for successful rehabilitation.
One of the best ways to regenerate damaged brain cells is through the heavy repetition of rehab exercises. Repetition stimulates neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reform the broken connections caused by a stroke.
For example, if a stroke on the right side of the brain has resulted in mobility problems in the left arm, routinely repeating left arm exercises will help repair the damaged connections in the brain responsible for those movements.
Focus on your Gait
A very common outcome of a stroke is an affected gait. Gait refers to the way a person walks. Many people have difficulty with walking and balance after a stroke.
Retraining your gait is more than just focusing on foot movements, gait is also affected by your legs and core. Leg and core strengthening exercises are an effective way to improve mobility and balance.
For severe walking issues, foot braces can be used for extra support.
Speech problems are another very common occurrence after a stroke. Especially for people that have suffered a stroke in the left hemisphere of the brain.
One type of speech problem that can occur after a stroke is aphasia. Aphasia is a language impairment that affects comprehension and the ability to read and write.
Another common speech issue is dysgraphia. This is a condition that is characterized by difficulty with spelling, writing, and the ability to organize thoughts.
A speech pathologist can help with these issues, and there are also programs online and speech therapy apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone to improve speech. Focus will be on repetition to retrain the brain.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to stroke recovery. To avoid regression, a regimented routine should be established to keep recovery on track.
Some regression is a natural part of the healing process. The key is not to get discouraged and to keep with it. Many stroke survivors report hitting a recovery plateau after about 3 months. This is normal. When you hit a plateau it is a good idea to shake up your routine a bit and implement some new techniques.
Good nutrition is another essential part of recovery. Eating processed food that is high in fat or sugar has a negative impact on healing. Getting the essential vitamins and nutrients is necessary for the body to do its job, and to create new healthy brain cells.
Sleep is also a critical aspect of stroke recovery. Sleep is fundamental for physical and mental healing. This is when the brain regenerates connections and assimilates the rehabilitation exercises you have been doing.
So, if you feel like you want to sleep a lot after a stroke, don’t fight it!
The effects of meditation on the brain are similar to the effects sleep has on it. Meditation is excellent for reducing fatigue, improving focus, and enhancing cognitive abilities.
Totally committing to a full recovery is the best way to make it a reality. Actually believing that a full recovery is possible can make all the difference for a positive outcome.
There are many stories about stroke survivors greatly exceeding doctor expectations by being completely dedicated to rehabilitation.