Neuro Rehab

The company that I work for is mostly orthopedic.  My boss has told me that down the road they would like me to maybe do some neuro rehab.  Neurological physical therapy.  This won’t happen for a few years, I certainly can’t be a practicing PT right now.  Well, I guess I could – I don’t know.  I’m assuming my bosses have the opinion that I sure shit know some things when it comes to rehabilitating a brain.  And I also get emails/questions from people around the entire world about things to do after a stroke.  Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows I am a HUGE advocate of meditation and its beneficial effects on the brain and body.

As far as physical therapy stuff is concerned – I got that covered.  But there is a crapload of other stuff that you should be doing that doctors will not tell you so I’d like to know.  Dean, I read your blog daily and believe me I will be sharing the research you’ve devoted your life to finding that is currently being ignored in the medical establishment.  To everyone else that isn’t Dean 🙂 – if something has really helped you, please tell me so that I can pass that information on.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.

Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Rehab, Stroke stuff

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24 replies

  1. Amy, after the stroke, I returned to work 3 months later. Every Tuesday, for a year I had a neuro-muscular massage which helped me greatly to reconnect with my body. Since I was working hard to regain my ability to walk, allbeit defectively, I had a lot of muscle pain which massage helped with.With the help of the weekly massage, I relearned my body which helped me to move on from the shock of stroke. I stopped when my body felt more familiar to me. I don’t go now because I have so little time. My massage guy was a former physical therapist and so could answer questions about how my body was recovering. Because he saw me every week, he could appreciate and call out very small improvements.He also helped with my arm pain. I had a very swollen arm and hand so he was able to gt fluid moving which corrected swelling…something to do with my armpit. I continue to recover, very very slowly, but I progress. Marta

    • Cool. Thank you. There are lymph nodes in your armpit so that’s what that was about. In lymphedema therapy the first thing that’s done is to massage the areas where there are lymph nodes to get them going and stimulate them. Then the areas that are swollen are massaged in the direction towards those areas so the lymph nodes can collect all the inflammatory fluid.

      • I truly miss my neuro massage therapist. I have not found another one, but still looking. I feel with regular massage the spasticity I have wouldn’t be so bad. I just can’t afford to pay out of pocket for it anymore.

  2. I did so many things trying to get better, its hard to know which helped, hindered, and which were just a lucky coincidence. We threw everything we could think of at my recovery: pt, ot, st, yoga, exercise, meditation, vision therapy, psychotherapy, prayer, a complete obsessive focus on positivity in all regards:people, places, experiences, words, books, stories, attitudes, feelings, songs, sayings, thoughts, etc.,, massive amounts of sleep, fresh foods, varieties of fresh all colors of the rainbow produce, juicing, naturapathic healing, homormone balancing with an endocrinologist, acupuncture, and just plain living life. Some of what I did was out of choice, some was out of necessity. Because my son was only 2 at the time, it “forced” me to recover. I had to take care of him and to do that I had to get better. We had very little help which was probably the best thing for me, although at the time it sucked….it was really hard.

    • Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! You know I’ve always wondered about hormone balancing stuff. What did she have you do? I know it’s hard for you to say what helped the most but do you think that made a difference at all?

      • Yep, it was a lot of stuff, but I felt I had to try everything because what if the thing i didnt try was going to help but I never tried. :/ I needed to know that I did my absolute best and if I’m still screwed up…well I tried damn hard and everything I could think of. There were also several “medication trials” in my fight against fatigue which didn’t go well either. The endocrinologist was helpful in finding out that I was fairly “balanced” already…brain injuries can really mess with things but the only real issue for me was hypothyroid which I already knew about. He switched me to Armour thyroid medication and I got drastically better almost instantly. I swear I need more and my fatigue would be gone but he says my dose is right and that taking more is not a good idea. That was the single most obvious thing I did that improved my fatigue. In my long list I forgot that I also had a sleep study and neuropsych testing. Psych testing helped d the therapists believe me when I told them what I needed to work on. Sleep study was not helpful, duh…yes I do not get any rem sleep anymore…no wonder I’m completely exhausted all the time!

  3. Amy, you have really helped me, just as a sounding board and a resource for my PT questions.

    • You’ve really helped me too Dean. That is something I most definitely cannot say to most people – the VAST, VAST, VAST majority of people in my life. You’d think certain people would only want to make my life easier after what I’ve been through. That hasn’t been the case at all.

  4. Like Elizabeth, I feel like we have tried everything too. I have really learned that personality has SO much to do with recovery. Zack is extremely wasy going. Extremely. I would guess, among friends, he is known for his gentleness and kindness, for being funny and a jokester, and for being musically talented. Myself, on the other hand, well, one of my best friends was talking about our levels of sass and she said of me “Brooke is all guns blazin’ sass.” I tell you that just to give you a picture of how our personalities have rubbed up against eachother in the last year and a half. I want him to work his ass off all the time, and he wants to give up, feel defeated, and let me so everything for him for the rest of his life. I will never let that happen. But there have been things that I have had to take a back seat on. I also think that his injury affected his reasoning and some higher thinking skills which has also further encouraged his tendency to feel defeated. Alllll that to lead up to saying, the single biggest thing that has helped Z has been his recent stint in counseling WITH someone who has experience in counseling people who have brain injuries. Also, his current therapists and therapy regimine has been great for him, they are super positive. The therapists/therapy coupled with counseling has caused a huge boost in confidence for him. He is much more willing to try new things-he went to a rock concert in San Francisco over night with ONLY friends recently. His friend asked me to talk to him to even see if he would be willing to go and I thought it would be an immediate no. He immediately said that yes he would like to. He is basically independent and was even willing to stay home by himself with charley for a few minutes while I ran down the street to the store. NEVER would he attempt something if the sort. Never. All that to say, confidence has been KEY for him. I often kick myself in the ass wondering how I could have triggered it earlier on. But I’m not sure I could have. All I can do is provide the opportunity.

    • “All I can do is provide the opportunity.” You got that right, Brooke you say some really profound things. You’re a wonderful caregiver. I got almost zero opportunities provided. What I got was a whole bunch of people telling me what to do who assumed they knew what was best for me and who thought they were saying the right things to me without actually talking to anyone and maybe figuring out what kind of things should be said to me. Some things that were said were absolutely horrible and made me incredibly angry. I had to navigate this myself. Only one friend of mine did any research on my behalf, everyone else – zilch. I’m glad he found a good counselor. I was referred to a therapist at the beginning who “specialized” in brain injuries and she sucked. Sorry for the rant. Bad morning.

    • And when I sought the services of someone that was supposed to do absolutely nothing but help me, I feel like I was kinda brainwashed, manipulated, and taken advantage of when I was extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely vulnerable. Be very careful who you go to for help. Everyone sucks. Trust only yourself and if you have someone in your life that only wants the best for you and genuinely wants to help you, consider yourself very very lucky. Sorry, another rant. I’m really having a bad day. And to top it all off, the stupid baseball playoffs are effing up my TBS TV-watching schedule. I mean c’mon. How much is one person supposed to take? The Pirates aren’t even in the playoffs, this is bullshit.

  5. I think there should be some sort of tough love counseling for all survivors. Basically to tell them that the complete extent of their recovery is up to them. Magic will not occur. You will only recover as much as the effort you put into it.

    • No one tells people this. Everyone has to learn it for themselves.

      • I agree dean and amy. I have told z this every couple weeks since we read peter’s book and I have been reading and discussing with you guys. I still have to tell him that. Even now, I think he should be doing more but because he has been more helpful around the house, and has felt like himself more, I just have to let it go. About nine months ago now, I went through a stage of fighting with him every couple weeks about how he was just letting himself go and how his home therapy regimine sucked. It did little to nothing to encourage him. It would last about a week and then tapper off. Even now, he goes everyday again (and does nothing extra in his own) so I’m not sure what it would/will be like when he is home more. But I had to start letting it go then. I cannot be responsible for his recovery. He is a grown up. And if he wants to choose to live a life of limitations based on his unwillingness to work in his recovery then I can’t take it personally. Even though it feels sometimes like he is choosing himself over charley and I. Not my thing.

        Thank you for your kind works, Amy. It means a lot. I have felt very supported by you. And I am sorry for the many disappointments you have faced. I think you are doing a good job at being resilient. Sometimes a good rant is just what we need.

  6. does anybody have info on the oxygen therapy that Joe Namath had to help with his brain injury?

    • Not I. Did he do hyperbaric oxygen treatments? I know a guy that does that – that had a stroke. I need to talk to him about it.

      • there was a small article in the Mpls. paper today about Namath receiving 40 sessions of “bathing” his brain in pure oxygen by Dr. Lee Fox of Jupiter Medical Center and he said that dark areas in scans showed new neurological activity. just wondering if you had heard anything about it and how it was administered.

        • Oh wow. I’ll have to read that article. No I don’t know anything about it. Maybe someone else does? I want to take that guy I know out to lunch soon and pick his brain so to speak about some stuff and the oxygen treatments are definitely on my list of topics to discuss.

          • good luck. thanks for writing the blog. it has helped me explain some of the things that i have been experiencing. keep it up.

            • My wife, Sue, (cerebellar stroke in 6/2010) tried the hyperbaric oxygen treatments for about a month, but really had a hard time with claustrophobia). I tried once to go with her into the chamber, but couldn’t hand the change in air pressure in my ears. (I have no problem flying, but could only take about 10 minutes of the session, before having to end it) Note. Sue did not seem to have any problem with the pressure and because she only had about 8 treatments, we can’t really say if it was helpful or if more treatments would have been successful. I’m happy to answer any other questions you may have about the experience.

    • All the previous research showed no functional improvement with HBOT. You can read my 17 writeups on that by going to my index of HBOT at

  7. DOing the physio exercises is good but I think I kept overdoing it – you have to count resting as another exercise and I wasn’t too good at that! But I have found Tai Chi really helps. Somehow the posture helps the coordination in walking (which is often pretty rubbish) and sometimes if I slow down and stand tall I can walk better than if I try and hurry. the other thing is recognising when you’re knackered and trying to push through anyway. I find if I do that the whole coordination messes up and I get those horible trunk spasms again like one sided hiccups! Thanks for the site, Amy – I get frustrated sometimes and it helps

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