A Complete Guide to Physical Therapy for Stroke Patients at Home

A Complete Guide to Physical Therapy for Stroke Patients at Home

What you’ll find here: 9 tips and resources to accelerate physical therapy for stroke patients at home

There’s a lot of information about stroke recovery out there, and it can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and tedious to gather.

So we did all the gathering for you 🙂

This article is chock-full of the solid advice you need to achieve a successful recovery at home.

1. First, Advice from a Therapist

One of our favorite therapists gave us some valuable advice for all stroke survivors continuing their therapy at home. You can read the advice in detail here, but here’s a short synopsis:

First, you need a schedule. If you don’t schedule your exercises, then you cannot keep yourself accountable and exercise consistently – which are 2 key ingredients for success.

Second, you need to adopt a new mindset by deciding that you’re doing this thing until it works. No half-heartedness allowed. If you find yourself saying, “I’ll try this new regimen, but if it doesn’t work I’ll quit,” then you’re setting yourself up for quitting.

Persistence and open-mindedness are absolutely essential.

If you keep this mindset and utilize the following 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to a successful recovery at home.

2. Don’t Let the Plateau Stop You

Once you end rehab at the clinic and begin pursuing rehab at home, you may see your results slow down. It’s important not to let this discourage you.

A plateau is simply a slowing down, not a stopping.

Recovery will only stop when you stop.

A great way to bust through a plateau is to shake things up and add variety to your regimen. This gives your brain the stimulation it needs to recover.

3. Don’t Let Paralysis Stop You

Post-stroke paralysis can be discouraging, but again, don’t let it stop you.

There are tons of stories of stroke survivors who overcome post stroke paralysis even when the doctors say there is no hope.

Read up on all the available options for post-stroke paralysis, and try everything you possibly can until you find something that works for you.

Most importantly, never give up hope.

4. Know the Difference

For those who have the ability to move their paralyzed limbs with their nonaffected limbs, then passive rehab exercises may help you regain movement.

The difference between active and passive exercise is this:

During active exercise, you perform a movement on your own. During passive exercise, you help yourself perform the movement when you cannot do so on your own.

Why bother assisting yourself? Because passive exercises can help restore movement in your limbs – even paralyzed limbs – because it still triggers neuroplasticity, the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself.

Read this story for an example.

5. Don’t Fall for the Nocebo Effect

Don’t let someone’s opinion about your recovery deter your efforts.

When someone tells you that you can’t do something, you may fall under the nocebo effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect. Instead of believing in positive outcomes, you begin to believe in negative outcomes, which unfortunately can turn those negative outcomes into reality.

Therefore, if someone tells you that you can’t achieve a full recovery, ignore them. You’re much better off believing in a full recovery than settling for someone else’s limiting beliefs.

6. Become Your Own Expert

Every stroke is different and therefore every stroke recovery is different, making it impossible for medical professionals to understand your situation perfectly.

YOU know YOU best, which means that you should take the reins for your recovery – especially when starting rehab at home.

If you feel inclined, check out our Guide to Becoming a Stroke Recovery Expert so that you can equip yourself with the knowledge you need to achieve that full recovery.

7. Treat Spasticity the Right Way

Spasticity is a HUGE roadblock that deters many stroke survivors from pursuing recovery at home. Don’t let misinformation fool you.

Even if your muscles are paralyzed with spasticity, there are ways to regain movement by utilizing the following 3 tactics:

  1. Mental practice
  2. Passive exercise
  3. A little bit of creativity

Although your results will come slowly – they will come as long as you persist in your efforts and never give up.

8. Take 30 Extra Seconds

Wilting motivation is the biggest struggle that survivors deal with once they start doing rehab at home.

A great way – that’s backed by neuroscience – to get yourself to stick to your regimen is to visualize yourself sticking to your regimen.

Visualization can change your brain. And making the decision today to exercise tomorrow makes you far more likely to actually exercise.

Since the only way to improve movement is through exercise, we highly recommend developing this essential 30 second habit.

You’ll see how 30 seconds a day can make a world of difference.

9. Make Sure You’re Getting Your Reps In

In order to see results during rehab at home, you need to perform a high number of repetitions during your rehab exercises.

Repetition activates neuroplasticity in your brain and strengthens the new neural connections that are forming. The stronger these connections become, the stronger you become.

To help with this, our home therapy device FitMi helps you achieve the high reps necessary to see results quickly. We’re talking hundreds of repetitions per half hour session (which is about 12x more than traditional therapy).

Because of this, some of our patients have seen results in as little as 3 days!

To learn more about FitMi and see what other stroke survivors are saying, click here.