What is Neuroplasticity and How Do We Use it for Stroke Rehabilitation?
by Lisa Mills-Hutton, Physiotherapist
Below is a brief summary on neuroplasticity and stroke rehabilitation.
Neuroplasticity can be viewed as an overall term that refers to the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout life and in response to experience.
The brain can rewire or reorganize itself by making new connections between brain cells after an injury such as a stroke. The healthy area of your brain is capable of taking over the functions of the injured part of the brain. As a result, you may be able to relearn skills that were lost when you initially had the stroke.
Neuroplasticity may be activated throughout the recovery process. Whether it has been a few months or a few decades since a stroke, the brain is still capable of healing and rewiring. This means that recovery is continuous.
Whenever you stimulate your brain with positive, consistent and repetitive movement or tasks, the brain will respond.
Change takes time. You will need to continuously practice specific tasks, in specific patterns and sometimes in a specific order in everyday life to improve your skills and rewire your brain.
“The idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity is, I believe, the most important alteration in our view of the brain since we first sketched out its basic anatomy and the workings of its basic component the neuron.” Norman Doidge