Movement impairments are one of the major side effects of stroke as it mainly damages the parts ofthe brain that control balance and movements. Difficulty in walking, holding, lifting and speaking would be few of the impairments that need to be focused and you need to work on.
Exercises help the stroke survivors to rewire the brain and reduce the post-stroke effects on the body parts. Repetitive exercises that help you to activate the neuroplasticity need to be practised on a regular basis.
It is common to see people often exercising on their own with the help of social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. While these mediums help people with information on various exercises and the way to practise them, there are many chances for the incorrect practise of these exercises, lack of proper guidance and understanding.
Incorrectly practised exercises, especially stroke rehabilitation exercises, will lead to various health issues and sometimes serious and abnormal movement patterns. Here are few complications that may arise when the exercises are practised incorrectly.
- Incorrect Brain Rewiring – Stroke leaves the brain damaged and the person should restructure the brain and its balancing patterns. When a stroke survivor incorrectly practises an exercise repetitively for a long time, the brain will adjust to that incorrect pattern which will have major complications on other body parts. Once the brain is observed adjust itself accordingly, it would be a difficult task to rewire it to the correct pattern.
- Incorrect Conditioning – As the major impact of stroke would be on limbs, the exercises are manly focussed on holding, walking and movement improvements. The incorrect practicing of these exercises will lead to complete change in the way a person walks and use the hands for a particular task.The fingers (of hands and legs) may become curvy and the strength of them will be reduced.
- Muscle Atrophy – Every exercise focuses on a single or different muscles of a body part. When an exercise is practised incorrectly for a number of times, its impact on few muscles will make them to move inappropriately or will not include them in the activity. This, in turn, may leads to muscle inactivity aka Muscle Atrophy in medical terms where that particular muscle remains inactive in general use.
- Adjusting to the Comfort Zones – The side effects of stroke will not let the person move the hands or legs with ease and the mobility room will be restricted. Trying to move hands or legs beyond this comfort point will cause them pain and many will start adjusting to these limits. After a few months of practise, the brain may get used to this short mobility space and will not allow the hands or legs to move beyond.
What You Should Do?
Stroke rehabilitation is a long run and you require complete support of the medical professionals and of course the family members. There is nothing wrong in practicing the exercises incorrectly but for a very short time. This is reasonable because the limbs will not allow you to practise correctly due to the limited mobility. However, continuing these incorrect patterns for a long run will have serious complications. Here is what you could do.
- Practise alongside an experienced and certified physiotherapist.
- Practise at home rather than at a physiotherapy clinic as travelling may cause inconvenience and drain your energy.
Be aware of forming negative habits and exercise patterns in the initial days. Take help from the medical professionals than practicing on your own. Many home healthcare providers offer physiotherapy services for stroke survivors at the comfort of their homes