December 2, 2015

Progress 11 Years After My Stroke

I started PT after injuring my back when I fell on my patio in October.  This is my first experience with precision PT.  Instead of having me do generic exercises like walk on the treadmill, my PT Tony evaluated the individual muscles of my back and hemiplegic (paralyzed) leg.  Here are two of the many things I learned 11 years post stroke.

#1.  Back spasms are a risk for me because abdominal muscles on my hemiplegic side are still very weak.  Stomach crunches I have been doing (photo) let me use many muscles to assist my stomach muscles. Tony had me slowly lift my bent leg while lying on my back and then lower my leg without touching my foot to the mat. I felt increased muscle tone in my abdominals for hours. Guess what I am doing every morning before I get out of bed. 
#2.  Tony taught me that I developed the bad habit of locking my hemiplegic knee so my leg muscles do not have to work.  Now I stand with both knees slightly bent during 4 activities of daily living (ADLs) - brushing my teeth, putting curlers in my hair, putting on make-up, and standing in line at the store.  Standing in line with both knees slightly bent was the hardest to do consistently.  Putting both hands on the handle of the shopping cart is a cue that makes me compliant.  Retraining the brain requires lots of repetition.  This new habit is not automatic yet, but I have become aware of when I lock this knee so I can tell it to stop.  

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca, hello. I am a physical therapist and experienced a stroke 2 years ago. Luckily, the primary area of my lesion was of the R sensory cortex. I not only am a PT; but, ironically, I teach neurology in a PTA program. As the stroke occurred, I was in the shower, and accurately diagnosed location of the lesion before I was taken away via ambulance. I've just recently discovered your blog. I have a lot of reading to do in here to get up to speed. I look forward to your insight. I can speak from experience, that experiencing an ischemic stroke has made me an instructor with great perspective in my lectures/teaching. I wish you the best.