Since starting to work with Aaron, my new PT/OT, I’ve finally learned a couple of ways to look at recovery almost having to (me anyways) remove the word ‘physical’ in Physical Therapy when it comes to recovery from a neurological condition such as stroke. To explain, I’ve forever had the mindset that to excel at any sport or activity, you have to ‘get physical’, like the Nike tagline, “just do it” rung true to me for years. Most activities pre-stroke often came pretty easily. Having reasonable strength, balance, and the mental fortitude to take part in most any activity, I set my mind to always saying, “I can do this”. But, I always seemed to have the approach to just “power through it”, with again, more of a physical angle to it, often leaving the mental out.
Aaron has worked to get much more of a mindfulness into my rehab with a lot of it going back to fundamentals. As much as I want the ‘old me’, mentioned above back, I’ve now long accepted it’s going to be a LONG time, if ever again. Best approach is to not ‘power through’ an exercise, leaving the brain behind, rather to mindfully make every movement be deliberate if I’m going to have any chance at all with the loads of rewiring of synapses taking place. I’m learning the hard way that simply powering through it, can actually have ill-affect, as it may likely be retraining the brain, just accentuating bad habit in movement. As very difficult it is for me to not be able to after 3+ years now fully weight-shift from using one leg to the other (side lunge), seems ludicrous, but Aaron is constantly having to tell me to slow it down & be mindful.
Credit on image below, taken from this blog post, which I liked.