Let’s say you’re a chronic stroke survivor. You know “chronic” – it’s the time after your plateau. Typically the chronic phase goes from 3 months to the end of the stroke survivors life. Do you still have a chance to get better during the chronic phase?
There’s actually good scientific reason to believe that you can get better after the plateau – once you are chronic.
And here it is…
Typically survivors are forced through rehab as soon as possible. Facilities are expensive and home is cheap, so off you go! The problem is that to get the survivor out the door, compensatory strategies are implemented. Things like AFOs and using the good arm to get everything done. It makes sense, these things do get people out of the system. The problem is those same strategies also hurt the survivors brain.
In fact, if compensation is taught during the first 10 days after stroke it hurts future function of the “bad” side.
OK, but how does this all help the chronic survivor? It sounds like it would hurt recovery.
Here’s why: Since the survivor is encouraged to use the “good” side, the “bad” side of the brain sits fallow- doing nothing. The upshot is that many survivors have a huge portion of the brain, usually adjacent to the area damaged by the stroke, that is on vacation. You’ve heard of ‘use it or lose it’? Well, they’ve lost it. BUT, it can be regained. How?
Here & here & here & here are some ideas.