Hey, I know how frustrating it is when you work so hard, you put so much effort into things and it seems like nothing is happening,
Nothing is showing up,
You can't see any progress in your goals and the parts of your body that you want to improve.
And maybe you are probably right,
The activity in your leg or arm may not be what you'd like it to be yet
But, it all depends on what lens you use to look at to define your progress
What do I mean by this?
Rehabilitation starts in the brain
You are working on creating new neural connections between the area of your brain that controls movement, the nerves that control movement in your arm or leg and the muscles themselves. That is a lot of ground to cover in the body, right?
So you are probably wondering, how do we help to make this connection stronger?
Well, the body learns by repetition.
It needs us to practice and practice and practice the movement over and over again until it understands it fully.
So I often imagine the body a bit like a house and every time something is clicking into place, a row or a few rows of blocks is cemented in. When something clicks into place, you no longer have to think so hard and try so hard. But the body is multi-dimensional and complex and relearning and regaining mobility can be complex too because of all the things the brain and body do at the same time when you lift your hand the glass and then to your mouth to have a drink or when you stand up and walk.
So much is happening on the inside when those 2 seemly easily (to everyone else) yet very very complex movement patterns are happening.
So each movement has at least more than 10 steps for each.
When the brain is learning, we are using the front part of the brain, this takes a lot of energy and our undivided attention.
An example of this is someone learning to walk and you ask them a question and they stop and stand still to answer you.
Another example of this is someone in the early stages of arm rehab stopping the exercise of lifting their arm into the air to answer your question
But as this movement becomes earlier for the brain and body and as the connection between the two becomes stronger, less energy and attention is needed and the brain can do 2 things at the same time because that movement has now become automatic and this is controlled by a different part of your brain now!
So during this period of rehabilitation, reconnection and relearning, it requires a lot of patience.
I know about this on a personal level because as a newly qualified physio 23 years ago, I had a back injury whilst at work. I had a prolapsed disc in my lower back at L4. It was so bad that I wouldn't sit for 4 to 6 months. I could lie down or stand. I couldn't work or drive for 6 months. And whilst I returned to work after 6 months, my rehab continued for a long time. In fact years! To get more strength, control, flexibility and connection with my body. And this is an ongoing thing.
The challenge is we don't know how long this process takes because all of our bodies are so unique and everyone's injury or impairment is so unique to them that no one can predict how long it will take. And the brain and body are so dynamic, plastic in that it is continually learning, no one knows and can truly say when or how long it will take so don't by into a time frame if someone gives you one because they may be guessing. It could take less time so don't get stuck on the number.
With the right stimulus for the brain repeated over and over and over again,
Change is Possible.
Progress is Possible.
Clients with all different levels of abilities from wheelchair users with spinal cord injury to walkers with Head injuries, Stroke or MS or TM or Parkinson's Disease in the past have demonstrated that change is possible no matter how long after their injury they start rehab.
Love and Blessings
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