Hello!! Welcome back to Therapy Tuesday. I want to share another set of tips with you today. I just found something else of interest from Flint Rehab, dated January 25, 2019, “The Danger of Getting Too Much Exercise After Stroke.” Please be sure to read the entire article when you get a chance. Therapy, Rehab, Exercise after stroke are important for improving your mobility and reducing your risk of another stroke(s). But how much is too much, and how much is not enough, and what happens if you don’t do any at all?
Every post-stroke person will benefit from a different amount and/or level of therapy/rehab because each person’s stroke is different. Although, for the sake of argument, move a little every day, and you will be better off than if you do not move at all. If you struggle with any post-stroke paralysis, even some minor (passive) therapy/rehab or stretching will count and will help you to feel better! But beyond a little daily movement, you will be in even better shape if you move strategically every day. Here’s what is meant by strategic movement.
What is the Best Strategy for Post-Stroke Therapy/Rehab?
The main purpose of therapy/rehab after stroke is to rewire the brain through neuroplasticity. I have mentioned this before (several times). You need to REGAIN YOUR BRAIN.
Since neuroplasticity is activated by repetition (and I know I have mentioned this several times before!!), your strategy needs to involve emphasizing repetition during your physical therapy/stroke rehab exercises.
The more you repeat each exercise, the better you will get at making that movement again. But, you ask, how much repetition is enough? Generally, most post-stroke persons can benefit from daily exercise. However, if your impairments are severe, you may want to scale it back some (i.e., not daily, but say, 3-6 days per week).
A good rule of thumb is, if therapy/rehab leaves you exhausted, then yes, scale it back. Always listen to your body!
But if therapy/rehab does not leave you fatigued, how do you know when to stop? Well, here is a guide.
How Much Therapy/Rehab After Stroke Is Too Much? As you start to see improvement from your daily Therapy/Rehab, you may get so excited by your improvement that you push yourself aggressively.
Let’s say, perhaps you go from exercising 15 minutes every day to exercising for 1-2 hours a day. Could that be too much? Here’s one way to determine the correct answer. If you answer - YES, IT IS TOO MUCH, because you feel exhausted afterwards and you feel fatigued the next day. Or you answer - NO, IT IS NOT TOO MUCH, because you only feel a productive sense of tiredness afterwards and it does not result in fatigue the next day. So, stroke recovery requires paying attention to your body.
Listen to Your Body to Develop a Home Exercise Program
You are an expert on your own body (because you lived in it your entire life, after all). When you listen to your body, you will know when you are doing too much therapy/rehab/exercising. Symptoms like fatigue, spasms and irritability are typical signs that you are simply doing too much therapy, rehab and/or exercising. If you feel any of these symptoms, scale things back down for a while. Remind yourself to be patient, and take a nice long nap. And if the pain continues, or is worrisome, be sure to mention it to your doctor.
What If You Stop Doing Therapy/Rehab/Exercising Altogether?
If you do not do therapy, rehab or exercise after stroke, here’s what could happen:
The trick is to find your sweet spot where you are not making yourself worse from overwork or underwork. Work with a trusted therapist and listen to your body.
Well, I hope this was helpful! I'm off to my next round of home therapy - I can still answer, "No, it is not too much!"
GOD BLESS! Peg
"You learn to rise above a lot of bad things that happen in your life. And you have to keep going." -- Lauren Bacall
Leave a Reply.
Here you'll find drills, places of support, emotional guidance, and everything in between!