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Regaining Function after Stroke or TBI

Every year millions of people are hit by a brain damaging stroke. When the blood is cut off from an area of the brain that area dies. The good news is that our brains are totally plastic and able to completely reorganize, rebuilt and automatically repair themselves. The trick is intense ongoing and constant physical and mental therapy. A few years of this intense therapy can completely repair the stroke damage. 


Our brains use functional maps (structures) to coordinate movements, thoughts and sensory processing. If we drew an analogy with computers, the brain has a harddrive, and a stroke is similar to data corruption. When a movement map file for right hand control is destroyed by a stroke, our brain is able to make a new map for right hand control through its plasticity (ability to dynamically change structure and function). Actually the brain is constantly undergoing structural and functional changes as we take in new ideas, think about things and experiences sensory input and interactions with life events and phenomenon. 


Young children learn language effortlessly. We are self programming, self aware, mobil super computers that automatically take in sensory information and organize it into structures, indicies and maps for information processing. Our experience of the world is the product of incredibly complex mental processes. The brain uses more than 20% of our blood glucose, despite its relatively small size and weight compared to our sugar burning muscles. 


Dynamic movement control of our limbs is an incredibly complicated system in the brain that relies on millions of movement maps that run through highly parallel low power biological neuron circuits to allow for fluid motion control  through our nerves to enable coordination. The mental complexity of physical movements explains how physical activity improves mood, memory and mental performance. The scientific and medical community has already produced huge volumes of research explaining the relationship between physical activity and mental performance. Dr. John L. Ratey wrote a book that presents this information in a series of stories called "Spark, the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain" 

http://www.amazon.com/Spark-Revolutionary-Science-Exercise-Brain/dp/0316113506


Strokes cause functional impairments by destroying parts of our mental processing structures, information indicies, and movement/ sensory input output maps and controls. Intense physical therapy works by causing increased repairing plasticity in the brain so that it can more effectively rebuild the lost data and functional structures. Physical activity helps to improve neuro-plasticity in all people. There is a strong link between mental and physical fitness. This is why stroke treatment involves a lot of "physical" activities. The movement in physical therapy helps to rebuilt new maps and motor control and sensory information processing structures in the brain. 


If you had a stroke 10 years ago and never fully regained the lost functioning, you can still make a full recovery with intense physical therapy. This same kind of therapy can be of great benefit to people suffering from traumatic brain injuries as well.


If you know someone who has had a stroke and is still able to read, I highly recommend the book "The Brain the Changes Itself" by Dr. Norman Diodge

http://www.amazon.com/The-Brain-That-Changes-Itself/dp/0143113100



The word "cant" is incorrect. You can do anything, including making a full recovery from a stroke. Do not let a pessimistic doctor tell you otherwise. With hard work, faith in God and lots of physical therapy you can become more functional as a person. You can become the best version of you after a stroke, brain injury, brain tumor or from any other kind of brain damage. Believe in your ability to recover. You can do it if you try! The scientific facts are clear, your brain is constantly rebuilding itself. Guiding the brains rebuilding with ongoing physical therapy is the key to effective stroke recovery. 


I have watched people up on the mountains skiing without legs. That is what human determination and drive can do. Please do not sit around in a puddle of self pity as a victim. You can overcome and rise above any adversity, illness or event! You are everything that God said you are: unique, beautiful and loved!


Look up "constrain induced" therapy and get informed: the truth will set you free to a full recovery.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constraint-induced_movement_therapy

Make sure to also read up on neuroplasticity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity



The story goes much deeper then neuroplasticity.

Your brain makes it's own drugs, they are called neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and endorphins. You can induced mental experiences that mirror and in many instances exceed the power of psychedelic drug use by simply concentrating. Such profound and mystical states of mind can be achieved through meditation on God's word for example.

Have you ever heard of a runners high? Those feel good neuro-chemicals released by sustained physical activity work exactly the same way as marijuana and opioids. You can get high for free and in a much safer way by just going for a run. Getting high on life not only feels good, its really go for your overall health.

Physical activity improves mental performance, memory function, motor control, balance, mood, sleep and sex. You stand to gain all sorts of wonderful physical and mental benefits by staying active. You will look nicer, feel better and perform everything more efficiently and effectively if you stay physically active. 



Think of physical activity as wellness enhancing activity: as the poster at the local hospital joint replacement wing proclaims "movement is life" 


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