There are many common misconceptions during stroke recovery that we are going to set straight once and for all.
If you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your stroke recovery, these myths might be what’s holding you back.
Myth: Your Recovery Will Be Limited
Fact: The only thing limiting your recovery is self-doubt.
You just survived a stroke. The word ‘doubt’ doesn’t belong in your vocabulary anymore.
Yet for some reason there are a bunch of people out there making you want to doubt yourself. They have good intentions, but it’s almost like they’re trying not to get your hopes up – but hope is exactly what you need!
When you hear limiting statements about your recovery, it plants a seed of self-doubt in your mind. And now it’s time to un-plant those seeds.
By simply making the conscious decision to prove them wrong, you’re psychologically changing the way you’ll behave in the future. Because when you verbalize that you’re going to do something, you’re much more likely to do it. Whereas if you say you don’t think you can do something, chances are you won’t do it.
As they say, “Argue for your limitation and they’re yours.”
So stop arguing for your limitations and start arguing for the full recovery that you deserve.
Then start taking small, relentless steps every day until you achieve success.
Myth: Rehab Starts with the Body
Fact: Rehabilitation starts in the brain.
Another common misconception about stroke recovery, especially when hemiplegia and hemiparesis are involved, is that your muscles are the problem – but it’s actually your brain that needs to heal. Luckily, our brains are really good at healing themselves.
After stroke, your brain enters a heightened state of plasticity where it starts to reorganize itself. Motor and speech functions that it couldn’t access before (due to the brain damage) are rewired so that you can access them again.
This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity and it’s the single most important concept that all stroke survivors should know about.
This reorganizing process is the thing that is going to make you better!
Rehabilitation starts in the brain, not the body.
Myth: Compensation Techniques Mean the End of Recovery
Fact: You still have one more option (and it’s a really good one)
The fundamental principle behind a full recovery is compensation vs. recovery.
Compensation involves performing an old movement in a new manner, like brushing your teeth with your unaffected hand instead of your affected hand. Recovery involves restoring the ability to perform a movement in the same manner as before, like relearning how to brush your teeth with your affected hand once again. Sometimes compensation techniques are necessary, especially when severe forms of hemiparesis or hemiplegia are involved.
However, if you feel like you can push past compensation – if you feel like you have the capacity and motivation within yourself to achieve a higher recovery – then you have one more option: recovery.
And here’s how you’re going to do it: By consistently performing your rehab exercises and NEVER GIVING UP. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 months or 15 years post-stroke. You can still rewire your brain and you can still achieve a higher recovery.
That option is always there for you – and we hope you find hope in that.
And for even more myth-busting, see these 5 mistakes to avoid during stroke rehab.