Persistence, Not Pressure

Persistence is very important in stroke recovery.   To support our recoveries, we have to be motivated, really want to recover and work hard consistently over the long term.   Our brains and bodies must know that recovery matters to us and that we will continue to pay attention to helping ourselves.  Setting goals, making schedules, making commitments to ourselves and keeping them – all of this makes a big difference.

Persistence is not the same thing as pressure, however.  Continue reading

Hope and Expectations

morning mountains in mist

Many times when I give a talk to clinicians I am asked the heartfelt question, “What do I tell patients and family members?  I don’t want to give them ‘false hope.’” These clinicians care about us.  They don’t want to add to our suffering. They want to encourage us and often they truly don’t know what to say.

Is there such a thing as “false hope?”  I don’t think so.   Continue reading

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity

We may have heard about neuroplasticity, but what is it exactly and how does it apply to healing from a stroke? My favorite definition of neuroplasticity is this: “The brain’s ability to change physically and physiologically in response to stimulation.” *

What does that mean? Our brains are changing all the time – every second of every day.   Our brains are not fixed. We are constantly making new connections, reinforcing old connections, tearing down connections that are no longer needed, and storing information. Our brains are made of tissues that connect to one another, store information and send signals in various directions. That’s what our brains do. They are information hubs. And everything that happens in the brain is affected by how we stimulate it. Continue reading