Sometimes it’s hard to pin down a good stroke recovery treatment option because every stroke recovery is different, which means that everyone benefits from different approaches.
In order to find an approach that works for you, you need to understand:
- What makes a good recovery great
- How to treat spasticity the right way
- How to treat paralysis the creative way
- What kind of alternative therapies are available to you
And we have all your answers here.
All Treatment Starts with Neuro
First you should know that the goal of every stroke recovery treatment is neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself. When part of the brain is killed by stroke, neuroplasticity allows the surrounding brain cells to pick up the slack.
All stroke recovery treatments are geared at triggering neuroplasticity so that your brain can relearn how to function properly again and relieve your stroke deficits.
And neuroplasticity can be triggered with 3 elements: repetition, consistency, and challenge.
Each time you repeatedly focus on something, you strengthen the connections in your brain responsible for that thing. And with enough consistency and challenge, the connections between your brain cells will become stronger, and you will get better.
3 Keys to Recovery
For example, learning a new language relies on neuroplasticity. And in order to learn a new language, you have to practice consistently.
Each time you practice the new language, you’re strengthening the connections in the language center of your brain. And with enough consistency, repetition, and challenge, you can become fluent.
Without consistency, though, it will be difficult to become fluent because those new neural connections won’t have enough reinforcement to stick.
The same concept applies to recovery.
Whatever treatment you pick, you need repetition, consistency, and challenge in order to make it work.
Physical & Mental Approaches
For this reason, practice is the only way to regain movement after stroke. Now, this can include both physical and/or mental practice.
Physical practice is at the core of all rehabilitation programs because it’s how you retrain the brain to control your affected limbs. Mental practice is the lesser-known brother to physical practice.
Essentially, if you want to regain leg movement, then mental practice would include visualizing yourself moving your legs. You could imagine yourself walking at the beach, around your house – it doesn’t matter.
As long as you’re imagining it, your brain cells are firing – and ‘neurons that fire together, wire together.’
In fact, recent studies have shown that mental practice can trigger neuroplasticity the same way that physical practice does – and combining the two together creates the best results.
So double up if you really want to speed up your recovery.
Smart Spasticity Treatment
Okay, this is our favorite part because spasticity is soooo misunderstood – so pay close attention.
No matter how bad spasticity is – it can be treated by retraining your brain to control those muscles. Treatments like Botox can help temporarily relieve spasticity, but they only address the symptom.
The only way to permanently treat spasticity and regain use of your affected limbs is – yup, you guessed it – rehab exercise. It helps retrain the brain to communicate with your spastic muscles and tell them to relax.
And if you suffer from post-stroke paralysis (hemiplegia), there’s still hope!
Paralysis Is Absolutely Treatable
Okay, this is our favorite part. (Really, this time.)
Because, in our opinion, there isn’t enough information about stroke paralysis recovery out there – and we’re trying to fill that void.
So first, check out this story from one of our patients who regained movement in a paralyzed hand with our device MusicGlove. It’s a truly inspiring story and serves as proof that you can recover movement at any stage – no matter what anyone thinks!
Second, check out these other stroke paralysis treatments.
We already covered the first 3, but the others are worth consideration, too.
Unconventional yet Effective Approaches
Now let’s dig into the weird stuff.
- Have you considered Traditional Chinese Medicine or acupuncture yet?
- Have you tried changing your brain with meditation yet?
- What about utilizing your breath?
These are all lesser-known treatments that you can try if nothing else is working. Actually, you can try them even if everything is working and you just want an extra boost to help speed your recovery along.
These methods have less science behind them, but they have survivors behind them who have tried it.
So, be sure to consult your doctor/therapist to make sure that it’s safe for you – but also maintain good faith that the ‘weird stuff’ can help too.
Support Needs to be Gathered
Our final word is about the importance of support. Try your best to avoid isolating yourself and keep the lines of communication between you and your loved ones open.
At the time of writing, we are almost 1,000 survivors strong!
Support groups are a great way to ask for advice and hear from others who are on the same mission as you.
It can also make a huge difference in your healing and happiness. 🙂
What do you think of this guide to stroke recovery treatments?
Did we answer all your questions?
If you have any more, please leave them for us in the comments section below!