Every stroke survivor must know about neuroplasticity after stroke.
It’s the mechanism that heals the brain, reverses stroke side effects, and restores independence. It’s a big deal!
To understand neuroplasticity after stroke and how to maximize its healing powers, read on!
What Is Neuroplasticity After Stroke?
The word neuroplasticity is the combination of 2 words: neuron and plasticity.
Neurons are the nerve cells in your brain; and plasticity means that you can mold or reorganize something.
Therefore, neuroplasticity refers to the process of reorganizing the neurons in your brain.
This mechanism is how your brain can heal itself after stroke and recover from the damage.
Healing the Brain After Stroke Through Neuroplasticity
After a stroke, certain parts of the brain can become damaged depending on the type of stroke and where it occurred.
The functions that were once stored in those parts of the brain become impaired.
For example, if the part of your brain responsible for motor control becomes damaged, it can make movement difficult.
That’s where neuroplasticity comes into play.
Neuroplasticity allows your brain to rewire functions from damaged areas of the brain over to new, healthy parts of the brain.
A different, healthy area of your brain is capable of picking up the slack. When mobility is affected, for example, new areas of the brain can learn to control the affected side.
While neuroplasticity is the #1 thing every patient should know, you also need to know how to activate it.
How to Activate Neuroplasticity and Recover from Stroke
There best way to activate neuroplasticity is with massed practice (i.e. heavy repetition).
The more repetitions you perform of a task, the more your brain will rewire itself.
Try to think of it as paving new roads in your brain.
If you only put down some asphalt, you’ll have wobbly roads that quickly erode.
However, if you smooth over the roads repetitively, you can pave a strong, durable road that will last for a long time.
The same goes with your stroke recovery exercises, for example. The more you practice an exercise, the stronger those new pathways in your brain become.
Neuroplasticity is nothing without good reinforcement and diligence.
Finding Hope for Stroke Recovery Through Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the king of stroke recovery because it can help you restore most of your stroke side effects.
Whatever you can practice, you can get better at.
Here are some examples of how neuroplasticity can heal the after effects of stroke:
- Memory impairments can improve with massed practice of memory games
- Mobility impairments can improve with massed practice of rehab exercises
- Speech impairments can improve with massed practice of speech therapy exercises
Whatever you do over and over and over is what your brain will get better at.
Neuroplasticity is how you will get your life back after stroke.
Repetition is the best elixir for the brain.
What do you need to start practicing?