If you want to recover from stroke, you’re going to need an effective rehabilitation program.
However, once you’ve been discharged from the clinic and/or insurance cuts you off, it can be hard to know what kind of rehabilitation to continue at home; let alone which one will produce the best results.
This article will help untangle that confusion.
You’ll learn about the two different types of rehabilitation, and how participating in both will help maximize your results and push you towards a higher recovery – perhaps even a full recovery.
Formal Rehabilitation – Improve Your Abilities
First off, formal rehabilitation is where your immediate results will come from.
Formal rehabilitation includes any work that you do with a therapist or any structured rehabilitation program/tool that helps you exercise.
The goal of formal rehabilitation is to motivate you to accomplish a high number of repetitions of therapeutic movement because this activates neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism that rewires your brain and helps improve your abilities.
Intense repetition performed during formal rehabilitation helps rewire your brain and rapidly improve movement.
Informal Rehabilitation – Capitalize on Your Improvement
Informal rehabilitation includes everything you do in your daily life without compensation techniques (or without as much compensation).
Informal rehabilitation is what will help you go from good to great and maximize your gains.
An example of informal rehab includes washing the dishes with both hands instead of one hand. One-handed washing might be faster, but it won’t help your affected hand get better.
By slowing down and washing the dishes with both hands, you can turn dish washing into informal rehabilitation that helps improve your hand function.
Informal Rehab Is the “Secret” to a Higher Recovery
Formal rehabilitation is the foundation of rehabilitation, like the bricks that you’re laying down to rebuild your life.
Informal rehabilitation makes sure that your gains continue to get stronger, like the cement in between the bricks holding everything together.
You can make massive gains with formal rehabilitation alone, but when you combine it with informal rehabilitation, you see better, faster results.
Prevent Plateaus with Combined Rehabilitation
Your threshold involves the point at which your gains start to increase with momentum or decrease with momentum.
If you do not hit your threshold, then your improvements might start to slow down or backslide – causing you to “rehab in vain.”
If you DO hit your threshold, however, then you are more likely to improve in your activities of daily living and your results will increase over time.
Getting past your threshold is critical, and informal rehabilitation makes sure that it happens.
Take the Slow Route for a Faster Recovery
By turning your daily activities into informal rehabilitation, you ensure that you hit your threshold and continue to better and better.
Although it can be frustrating sometimes, slowing down NOW will help you become faster LATER.
There may be moments where you’re tempted to take shortcuts (i.e. use compensation techniques) instead of slowing down for informal rehabilitation – and it’s up to you to decide how often you want to practice.
Don’t burn yourself out by trying to turn every single thing you do into therapy. But try to deliberately turn some of your daily activities into informal rehab.
The more rehabilitation you practice, the better, stronger, faster you will become.
Where to Start
We hope this article helped motivate you to practice both formal and informal rehabilitation.
A great place to start is by choosing one daily activity that you have the patience to slow down with, and turn that into your informal rehab.
Then, do some research to help you find a home therapy program that fits you and helps you get your reps in.
A great place to start is our FitMi home therapy tool.
Stroke survivors love FitMi because it helps them see results faster than traditional therapy by motivating 12x more repetition.
Hear what they have to say in our testimonials.