July 13, 2019

Two Sets of Ten Do Not Undo 12 Hours of Disuse

I had back spasms after my stroke.  It was terrifying to be frozen in standing hoping I would not drop my cane or fall down.  I was highly motivated when a PT gave me exercises to strengthen the weak abdominals that allow my back to arch every time I lift my hemiplegic leg.  I do these exercises every morning before I get out of bed.  However, a few repetitions do not undo the effects of 12 hours of disuse.  

If exercise was enough, coaches would stop after they have football players run laps around the field and throw and catch footballs.  Exercise strengthens muscles but does not retrain the brain to use muscles when we are distracted.  Here is an example of what I mean.

I want to stop arching my back when I lean my stomach against a counter for support. I am failing 2/3rds of the time.  To remind myself to reach forward and lean on my right hemiplegic hand, I put a beige piece of non-slip shelf liner on the front edge of the kitchen sink.  I kept forgetting to do this so I added a 2nd memory aid.  A blue piece of non-slip shelf liner reminds me to 1st rest my sound hand on the counter before my hemiplegic hand reaches for the counter.  I am improving so I know I can learn this new habit.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

1 comment:

  1. It's that mind not remembering its skills when distracted that causes all the trouble. Especially when we are dealing with cognitive challenges and not just physical ones. When you learn to perform and instrument you practice the notes over and over until your fingers just automatically go where they are supposed to go but you have to watch that you don't move on to auto pilot and play without passion and awareness. You still have to be present in the moment but expect your well trained muscles to back you up!