This article is a must-read if you’ve been practicing at-home rehabilitation exercises without seeing any improvements. This problem usually occurs when you transition from practicing rehabilitation exercises alongside a clinician to practicing your exercises alone at home. Without your clinician there to tell you if you’re doing it right or wrong, critical feedback is lost. This feedback is what allows us to relearn motor skills after stroke because it is required for the brain to rewire itself and heal. Alright, let’s dive in.
What Is Feedback?
First of all, what is feedback? Well, when we say ‘feedback’ we’re referring to a signal that lets you know if you’re doing something right or wrong. For example, when you flip on a light switch, seeing the light turn on is a feedback signal that lets your brain know you were successful. We need these kind of success and failure signals during stroke rehabilitation in order for the brain to relearn how to control the body. It might sound obvious, but obvious is exactly what we want!
Why We Love Obvious
The more obvious the feedback, the better. During simple rehabilitation exercises, like moving beans from one bucket to the other, the success signal of seeing the beans land inside the other bucket is very clear. However, simply moving your hand back and forth without any goals in mind will not provide any clear success signals and thus will not help your brain recover. That’s why we designed the MusicGlove to include obvious visual feedback signals for each hand movement you complete. Not only does this effectively accelerate recovery, it also makes it fun!
Feedback Is Only Half the Story
There are two factors that are critical to maximizing motor recovery after stroke: repetition and feedback. The more frequently you repeat an exercise/movement, the faster new pathways become cemented into your brain. And in order for those new pathways to form at all, you need to have direct visual or verbal feedback during your rehabilitation exercises. You are literally reconstructing your mind, and we know you can do it!
Now that you know why feedback is important in your rehabilitation efforts, how will you include it in your regimen? Leave us a comment below with any tips or tricks you’d like to share with our community!