Revealing the Beautiful Truth about Stroke Recovery (Part 2)

Revealing the Beautiful Truth about Stroke Recovery (Part 2)

This is part 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Life after Stroke series.

During stroke recovery, we see these 3 misconceptions over and over, so we’re always eager to spread this message:

  • A full recovery is possible
  • Compensation does not have to be the end
  • The plateau is not real

They’re bold statements, we know.

But you deserve to know the truth.

Truth #1: A full recovery is possible

“Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.”

This famous saying applies directly to stroke recovery. When doctors tell us that we’ll be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of our life, they just planted a seed in our head.

And you need to make the choice – right now – to unplant that seed.

When you believe in your limitations, they become your limitations. It’s called the nocebo effect and it’s very real. Luckily overcoming the nocebo effect is easy:

Believe that a full recovery is possible and decide that you’re not going to stop until you’ve achieved it.

When you make that mental switch, it changes your brain chemistry and helps you make it happen.

Truth #2: Compensation does not have to be the end

On your journey to achieving a full recovery, you’re going to come across compensation techniques that make moving easier.

Try to think of these as temporary solutions.

Your permanent solution is working hard to get back to life as it was before.

Compensation techniques include performing a task in a different manner to get things done – often moving around your affected muscles. When you ignore your affected muscles like this, your brain won’t recognize them and therefore isn’t trying to regain control of them. (It could even lead to learned nonuse.)

An example of a compensation technique is reading from a Kindle instead of turning the pages of an actual book. Or perhaps you wash the dishes with one hand instead of both.

Sometimes compensation techniques are necessary to get things done. But when you have the time and energy to do something the long and hard way, do it.

You’ll get better faster that way.

Truth #3: The plateau is not real (not really)

And lastly, when you see your results slowing down, you might be inclined to say that you’ve plateaued and give up your stroke recovery efforts. Do not fall for the plateau. It is a lie.

While there is a well-documented pattern of stroke recovery slowing down after about 3 months, it does not mean that recovery will stop. Ever.

Recovery will only stop when YOU stop. If you keep putting in the work, you will keep progressing.

As long as you’re utilizing repetitive practice and neuroplasticity while being disciplined about your rehab exercises, then you CAN continue to recover. Always.

Do you feel like you’ve plateaued? 

How did you bounce back?

Share your victories – big and small – with us in the comments section below!

Up next is Part 3: Understanding What to Expect during Stroke Recovery

Earlier posts in this series:

  1. Healing the Brain and the Pain