A stroke is a brain injury, not a muscular injury.  It may seem like your muscles don’t work anymore but they do, they’re still there and just as good as they once were, well at first that is.  Soon atrophy starts and that’s when your muscles will look less developed.  But the actual stroke doesn’t affect the muscles.  You just have to work a hell of a lot harder to use them and learn to use them again because the signal to them from the brain is messed up.  That’s why the physical therapists make you do all those weird exercises.  They want to make those signals work again, or make new signals.  They’re trying to neuroplastically change the brain.  You know the phrase “use it or lose it?”  It’s true.  Before the stroke, I could just move every direction, every way, upside down and forward without thinking about it.  It was second nature to me.  After the stroke, I had to ‘learn’ how to move again.  This is called motor learning.  I wasn’t learning how to move in the traditional sense, I knew HOW to move cognitively, my muscles just didn’t cooperate.  I had to ‘learn’ to use them again.  So now I don’t really weight train, well sometimes I do, but I try to do everything I can by myself.  Every time I do a ‘new’ movement, or ‘old’ movement, I’m helping to rewire the brain.  Neuroplasticity takes a lot of repetition.  You know how athletes get better?  Lots of repetition, they’re ‘rewiring’ the brain.  Use it or lose it.  Love this.

Categories: Brain stuff, Stroke stuff

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