It is often not until we actually have a stroke (or a loved one does) that we discover just how the brain works. Yet it is important for stroke rehabilitation to understand what the function of each Hemisphere and each Lobe in the brain.
There are two Hemispheres; the right and the left. They both have very different function.
1. The Left Hemisphere assists us with logic, verbal skills, order in our lives and maths as well as many other similar tasks.
2. The Right Hemisphere allows us to tell stories, recognise shapes, assists in our observation, allows us to be creative and play music or paint a picture and other similar skills.
The brain also has four Lobes that in turn allow us to develop further skills.
1. The Frontal Lobe looks after our motor skills and allows us to do forward planning etc.
2. The Parietal Lobe enhances our senses; being able to smell, taste and feel.
3. The Temporal Lobe is associated with sound and how we hear.
4. The Occipital Lobe looks after our vision and allows us to see.
Once you better understand how the brain works then you can more clearly see what it is that you have had affected by your stroke. Once you have this knowledge, then you can concentrate on exercises to help improve the damaged part of the brain.
When thinking of a tennis player we know they have different strokes: backhand, forehand and a drop shop. If one of these strokes is not as good as it should be the tennis player concentrates in improving on the poor stroke.
Likewise, you have to work harder at improving the part of your brain that your stroke has made weak. To help you do this, you need to follow the following three steps.
1. Understand the Hemispheres and Lobes and how they work for you.
2. Clearly identify the problem that you have to face. Believe it or not, but often you do not fully comprehend what does not work well for you e.g. understanding numbers.
3. Put together a systematic routine to allow you to work on the problem.
In my case, the thing that concerned me most was that I could not read. Every day I make myself read – sometimes I understand words well, other times I get quite confused. I know that I cannot concentrate for long before resting, but I keep reading whenever I can.
Also, my balance is not good. I am pretty careful when moving on stairs on uneven surfaces, but I am training a young puppy and when doing his leash training I do it in a flat surface. I can still stumble and get dizzy, so I only work for a few minutes. But I do it three or four times a day. Not only is the puppy learning well (they should be trained in short spurts) but I am improving too.
I suggest you watch this video for a short synopsis (based on this discussion) and if you want more details for stroke rehabilitation you can also access a free presentation at the end of this video.