Stroke Recovery Frustrations
After a stroke a woman spent seven years getting intensive therapy to try to help her regain functionality. She really wanted to be able to do simple functions like wash her hair and knit again. What she learned is how to bring her arm up to her head. However, once there, the arm either contracted and pulled her head down or it went flaccid and flopped back down, completely lifeless. She became so depressed and frustrated that she gave up on recovering any usable functionality.
Eight hundred thousand people in the U.S. have strokes each year; it is the No. 1 cause of long-term disability. The medical success in treating these conditions is limited, as statistics show that just 10% of stroke victims recover full functionality. What is missing in the current approach, and why isn't there greater success rates?
Rebuilding Neural Maps
Quite recently science researchers discovered the brain has neural maps of every function we do. Neurological injuries such as a TBI, stroke, MS and more can damage or cause parts of the neural maps to be lost. The challenge is how to repopulate the neural maps. The NeuroElements approach has identified five elements that make up the foundation underlying how we learn to function. The five elements are the critical infrastructure the brain needs to learn, similar to the foundation a musician learns such that they quickly adapt to different styles of playing and easily learn to play other instruments. NeuroElements shows how to integrate the elements into any functionality to recover and repopulate the neural maps. How does NeuroElements work?
Your brain lets you know what to change by what you feel in any given moment as you perform a function. And what can you feel? Stiff, fatigue, sore, discomfort, pain, numb, and more. Whatever you feel is what your brain tells you is being misused or overused. Your brain expects you to refine functionality by eliminating all that you feel, until you feel nothing. When you feel nothing, yet the function is effortless with full range of motion, you are functioning optimally.
How Vision Affects Recovery
What you see has an indirect relationship to the neural maps. Your vision is not directly related to what you feel so the brain has created a way to associate what you see with what you feel. This is important in stroke recovery because often individuals may be able to move parts of their body by looking at them, but in reality there is no neural map associated with the function. For instance, many clients could move an arm while looking at it, but when their eyes were closed while trying to move the arm it did not move! The neural map wasn't really there at all!
It's not clear what part of the brain is engaged when we watch a movement but if the maps are not there we have no control. Clients could not feel if their arm was contracted or released with the eyes closed, and therefore they had no way to control it.
Try the following for yourself:
Sit and place your arm on a table with the palm facing the ceiling. Close your eyes and slowly make a fist. Can you feel what contracts? When you contract notice if your hand hand comes off the table? Try to contract and leave the top of the hand resting on the table. What do you feel contracting now? Is it different than before? Does your wrist feel stiff? Try contracting the hand while keeping the wrist soft and pliable. Use your other hand to move the wrist. It should easily move in all directions while contracting the hand. What do you feel contracting? Is it different than before? Pause and feel what is different between the two arms. One should feel more alive and present in your awareness.
Other Factors Impede Recovery
Recovery is affected by how poorly we function before a stroke. Over time we create layers of functional limitations resulting from injuries and trauma. Even though we heal from injuries and trauma, we don't naturally regain functionality. It turns out we don't know how to recover full functionality after trauma because we initially learn to function non-consciously. Stroke, unfortunately, seems to highlight the limiting patterns which further hinders recovery since the poor patterns must be addressed to relearn functionality. For instance, if you lifted your arm as a single unit from the shoulder before a stroke, in order to regain functionality you must feel how to move all the components individually for your brain to understand how to use the arm. It's a big job made easier when you just focus on the five elements.
Recovery The NeuroElements Way
The NeuroElements approach shows you how to rebuild your neural maps and unravel limiting patterns to fully recover functionality after a stroke. It is effective regardless of how long after a stroke and at any age.
So many individuals become depressed and despondent as their high hopes for recovery and getting back to feeling 'normal' are dashed. With NeuroElements you very quickly feel profoundly different as the brain is engaged in ways that are congruent with how you evolved to function. Once engaged in a better way recovery can move along rapidly. In addition, you learn to become empowered to help yourself because what you learn is integrated into every moment of your day.
Click here for more information on the NeuroElements approach.