How can I help heal my brain after a stroke to gain more motor functions?

"I have experienced a stroke on my right side of the brain. I have no motor functions on my left side of my body. Will my brain ever remember or relearn that it has a left arm? If so how can I help heal my brain over time? I have regained more control over my left leg. It has been four years since my stroke. I remember not being able to wiggle my toes. Now I can move each toe individually. As a result of that I believe that one day I will have control of my left hand again. If the brain heals then the body will do the same, or is the brain work in seven year cycles?"

Asked by Raven in commenting on the article, "Lyrical Literacy Learning":
In Topics: Physical Health
> 60 days ago



Wayne Yankus
Apr 17, 2010
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What the Expert Says:


Great question.  The most recent studies show us that we can re-teach our brain some functions.  It is called plasticity meaning some of us right handed people can retrain our brains to brush our teeth with the left hand etc...  Work with your neurologist and physical or movement therapist and don't get discouraged. Reconnecting circuits in the brain take time.  Get a team going including your family or caretakers, and best wishes for your recovery.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (1)

vdancer writes:
Dear Raven,

It's wonderful to hear that you are regaining movement in your toes.  That's a great sign!  I am a movement therapist, not a doctor, and I certainly hope you have a team of professionals helping you in your recovery.  There is a lot of interesting work going on now, studying the plasticity of the brain, especially with stroke patients.  I am listing a reference link to an article of a study just released today, below.  Be sure to ask your neurologist about work with imagery, and with mirrors, that are helping folks recoverying from strokes.  Best wishes.

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