Category Archives: Stroke

Can Cuss, Concussed

I haven’t written for quite some time, why you may ask…or maybe not, I’m not sure there is anyone reading what I write except the spammers, and since I’ve stopped writing, they are even slowing down.   Why did I stop writing?  I fell, hurt my dominant hand,  gained a new concussion, lost my ability to come up with coherent written thoughts.  Not good for a writer, not good for a manual therapist. but who am I to questions God’s timing or my klutziness.

My daughter didn’t let me drive for three whole days. I’m not allowed on my inversion table for a month. Swinging a golf club hurts as does poi.I saw my doctor and she mentioned post concussion syndrome…. I asked, what can I do? she said “time” is the only medicine. sigh…. this could be discouraging… I asked for a handout, she recommended I google information I did…guess what, by the common descriptions… yup, the symptoms describe what I’m going through to a T: Lethargy, apathy, headache, light-sensitivity,   dizziness, tinnitus, poor concentration, sleep disruptions, easily fatigued, impulsivity, poor judgement, increased stubbornness, mood swings… every article I’ve found says that time and rest are the only things that help.

I don’t like that answer…no, I am not stubborn, argumentative, unable to focus, distractible…lol, my daughter would laugh at that, but, I do have experience in working with other people with severe head injuries who unfortunately have these symptoms piled on top of physical disabilities and hope to use that experience to help me in my recovery process.  Once again, I have to go by what I know not by what I feel.  I know the concussion is only part of what I am dealing with. The fall also resulted in spasms along my neck and back and some neck injuries mimic concussion signs as well.  How can I tell which is which? it doesn’t matter.  Brain fog is brain fog.  If y’all could see how many typos I’ve made in just these two paragraphs you’ll laugh or cry with me… yup it’s messed up.   I’m making this list for you, but I’m making it for me as well, so I can come back to this list when I remember that I am still healing and that therapy tools are actually helpful

I’ve spent the last two weeks resting….very important

  • when I rest, I lie down and immediately feel like I can breathe better, showing me that my diaphragm  and postural muscles also need time to recover from the impact.
  • for that part I am using my ma roller[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B000H1VBX2″ locale=”us” height=”55″ src=”” width=”75″] to help stretch my connective tissue and encourage spinal segmental motion.  Opening my back and neck up may help decrease the unfocused-ness in my eyes
  • I wear a hat when I go outside…when I remember, if I forget squinting and headache remind me…so now I keep a hat hung next to the chihuahua’s leash and in my car.
  • I gargle and do my saline snuffs because of the acrid taste that has been added to my post nasal drip,
  • I practice my twirly thing exercises from the legs up instead of the head down.
  • No inversion table, downward dog, aggressive cardio because those things all exacerbate the volatility  of my heart rate and blood pressure.   In the ER when checking for neuro-signs, my heart rate was 37…no joke thirty-seven. Low heart rate can be a sign of excellent conditioning, but it can also be a sign of intracranial pressure…. I never knew that.
  • I need to go back to doing my vision therapy exercises.   The optic nerve has brain tissue in it, I need to remember that using my eyes and forcing them to focus really does change what they do automatically.  I slacked off  n the months before this fall, 3-d sight was automatic more than half the time,   In the ER one of the things that made me realize I’d hit my head (that’s right, I didn’t even know it) was the extreme difficulty  I had in creating single image. My eyes were not working together at all.  I am not remember to do this on my own, so I have my tool box  in my living room. my brock string, red green glasses, finger lights, marching clock poster, and am playing my vision therapy video games.
  • I am not wearing my balance challenging sketchers…my balance is already compromised I do not want to fall again.
  • I am crawling, doing rotisserie exercises, singing
  • since I’m not at the golf course there’s about 15 hours a week of sunshine I’m missing so I keep reminding myself I should probably eat more fish and get some vitamin D sources included in my diet.
  • brain is made of a lot of fat, so I am allowing myself more good fats
  • ginger has helped with tinnitus before, so I got some now to remember to use it
  • vibrator to my belly and armpits to help with the inflammation
  • and rest…I don’t remember  to do that on my own…I set alarms to remind me when to do stuff.
  • I’m looking at my neuro-sculpting group, or visit them on facebook, because they always have suggestions for brain changing activities.


When was the last time you crawled?

Most people stop crawling when they learn to walk. walking is faster. Parents brag on their kids  who get up and walk at early ages. The term crawl tends to have negative implications, slow, inefficient, leading impatient impulsive frustrating behaviors, when in actuality, crawling is an important step in development. The predictable sequential patterns in which infants progress from womb behaviors to functional adult patterns has many small steps that affect brain function, co-ordination, even the ability to read. It follows after any event or disease that impacts a person’s ability to function physically   a rehab program that at least visits steps such as eye tracking, rolling over, stretching in hands and knees, exploring quadruped weight shifting, finding balance in the kneeling position practicing getting up and down from floor or at least the bed, would be a good idea.

Chronic back pain will frequently respond well to crawling and other quadruped activities. Muscle imbalance helps perpetuate pain. Working muscles in an alternate gravitational plain allows and encourages a change in the diagonal pulls of the muscles, encourages lymphatic drainage away from the front side of the back bone, allows abdominal contents to shift positions in the pelvic cavity, stimulates neurological processing, and encourages proper reciprocal integration of movements between the shoulder girdle and the pelvis.

There are studies that suggest school aged children with reading and concentration difficulties would benefit by game play that included hands and knees mat work. Crawling helps develop co-ordination because it calls for diagonally oriented muscles to kick in and to get  pelvic girdles and shoulder girdles to separate themselves from the expansive capabilities of the ribs while maintaining a separate movement path that leads to the base of the spine and eye control

Several yoga poses travel through these same plains, the rewards of Pilates regimens is that the short postural muscles of the torso get to work in a tight reciprocal  pattern, and several therapy programs encourage weight bearing in alternate positions. For many persons even taking a short time to lie on their bellies in preparation for crawling is just what the doctor ordered.. Massage or bodywork are not usually done in a quadruped position but can be profoundly effective in re-balancing a person’s center of gravity. So go on, get four on the floor…

Get in touch with your inner pre-toddler and re-learn how to crawl in a way that improves your walk




Stroke & TBI

At one time it was thought that whatever recovery someone had  2 years after a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) was about all they were ever going to get.   Fortunately,  although the news hasn’t gotten around to everyone, there is substantial evidence that this is NOT true.

Brain injuries are more common than most people recognize.  The death of San Diego football hero Jr Seau brought national attention that multiple concussions can have profound effects on mood and effective living.  There are ways of using the brain’s  neuroplasticity   to overcome or at least minimize the effects of these injuries whether they are large or small.

Many persons I know with strokes, their major emphasis is walking so they put themselves in an upright position and try to make their new body do what their old body did, however , they forget that when they first used their brains to begin walking they passed sequential milestones first. head turning, rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, weight shifting, and they think all they have to do is to put one foot in front of the other.   my best advice to someone who has been discharged from therapy but is not fully functional, is to get a baby developement book, and work on the tasks that children go through, use imagery when actual motions are not presently possible, and do not give up hope.

keep smiling, don't give up

Babies aren’t expected to walk, everyone knows their brains aren’t ready for quite some time. They lack co-ordination and they don’t stop trying when it doesn’t happen at first attempts

I have seen remarkable improvements in people who had strokes over a decade before we worked together, that made gains that were not possible at the time they were ‘cut off’ from therapy and told….just deal with it.   Our brains have the ability to change over time and we can have conscious impact with our thoughts and physical practices.


If anyone asks, I’d be happy to share my experiences