If you suffer a stroke, the goal will be to recover as quickly as possible. While there is no magic pill involved, there are a few small steps you can take that may help speed up your recovery and assist you in building positive habits over time.
Here are eight of them:
- Stimulation and repetitive practice
Repetition is the crucial ingredient during recovery as it activates neuroplasticity – your brain’s mechanism for rewiring itself. Practicing various exercises helps to rebuild lost skills and helps you to improve your ability to perform daily activities. These skills need to be practiced daily for faster recovery and to stimulate the brain.
- Improving your gait (ability to walk)
Your physiotherapist may be able to help you recover your walking by showing you which exercises to practice. You will likely need to perform exercises for your feet, legs, and core. You need a full-body exercise program because walking is a full-body task.
Ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) for foot drop helps improve your gait when you have difficulty lifting your foot up. Foot drop recovery is important for safety and preventing falls. When not wearing your AFO you should be practicing foot drop exercises on a daily basis.
- Bouncing back from the stroke recovery plateau
Stroke recovery tends to slow down at the three-month mark where you tend to plateau and when most stroke patients are discharged from inpatient therapy. Once discharged, it’s important to continue with your home exercise program to keep recovery going and maintain the improvements already made. Keep engaged and have a daily regimen at home.
- Consistency to reverse regression
It is common to take two steps forwards and one step back. If this happens, it is a good time to take a look at your progress during the previous week. Did you over-exert yourself more than usual? Ask your doctor or physiotherapist as a regression can indicate other complications. Your brain needs consistent stimulation in order to rewire itself, in other words neuroplasticity. Inconsistent participation in rehab won’t lead to the best results due to lack of repetition.
- Get adequate sleep.
Sleep helps to improve movement recovery by turning short-term memories into long-term memories. REM sleep helps people learn and remember how to perform physical tasks. It also gives the brain time to rest and recharge.
- Healthy diet.
Foods that promote neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons in the brain) are the best foods to help boost your efforts of recovery. Foods such as fish, pomegranate, nuts, seeds and blueberries are some recommendations here.
- Meditation helps accelerate recovery.
Meditation is a brain-nourishing practice that can help grow the brain matter of your brain and improve information processing. It also helps with depression, tiredness and fatigue and improves attention, emotion regulation and mental flexibility.
- Speech therapy.
With a left-brain stroke, you may have language difficulties like aphasia (impaired ability to understand or produce speech as a result of brain damage). A speech therapist can assist with your recovery too.
Not all stroke survivors can recover to their pre-stroke abilities – however, believing that a return to your pre-stroke abilities is possible will motivate you to take more action leading to more results. Most have different goals during rehabilitation, but all would like to improve and get back to doing what they love.
A trained physiotherapist can identify specific treatment needs post stroke and assist with your recovery by developing an individualised treatment program that targets your problems and needs. If you are finding certain tasks difficult, physiotherapy is one way to improve your quality of life.
If you’d like to know more, please contact our client care team to see how we can help you, or your Mum or Dad.
Our friendly team are here to help, so call us today on 1300 797 793.