The Plateau Phase: Turning Points in Stroke Recovery

The Plateau Phase: Turning Points in Stroke Recovery
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Introduction to Recovery Plateaus

Let's dive into discussing the plateau phase in stroke recovery. Throughout this journey, there are critical turning points, and encountering plateaus at various stages is quite common. These plateaus might seem puzzling at times, but they're a natural part of the recovery process and usually temporary. Although they can be frustrating and exhausting, there are effective ways to navigate through them. I'll share some methods that have worked for me, as well as some that haven't.

Understanding Your Unique Journey

Remember, each stroke survivor's journey is unique. You might find different strategies more effective than those I've used. The key is to take a step back, assess your current situation, and figure out the best way forward. You're the expert on your own body and its limits. To overcome a plateau, it's vital to honestly evaluate where you are and where you aim to be, to foster healing and growth.

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The Nature of Recovery Plateaus

Like any plateau in life, recovery plateaus require consistency, yet this can sometimes lead to stagnation. Our bodies and muscles get accustomed to certain routines, making it crucial to mix things up. Plateaus, whether temporary or more stubborn, occur as our bodies adapt to the familiar. This concept isn't just limited to stroke recovery but is also seen in areas like weightlifting and sports.

Personal Experiences and Strategies

In conclusion, plateaus are a natural and inevitable part of stroke recovery. By recognizing them and adjusting your approach accordingly, you can move past these challenges and continue on your path toward healing and growth. Particularly in neurological events like stroke, plateaus are a normal part of healing. Our bodies need time, and sometimes the plateau might be a small shakeup or a sign to change something. Your body and brain will have the clearest idea, but getting through it involves trial and error. I don't recall my first plateau, but I remember many of them. A significant one for me was when breathing exercises helped me get back into exercising, but I couldn't reach my goals despite trying hard. I had to give my brain and body time to heal.

Overcoming Challenges

Honestly, progress isn't always linear with strokes; things you think will work might not, while other unexpected improvements happen. Recognizing plateaus can be challenging, but if you're honest with yourself, there are signs in every activity and movement. For example, walking was great for me, but I wasn't reaching my goals, so I switched to running and biking.

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Adapting and Experimenting

The gym offers a variety of machines for different body parts, allowing you to shake things up if something isn't working. Many machines also offer variations, which can be helpful. Emotionally, survivors often feel frustration because they used to do things a certain way. Finding a new way that works for you and maintaining progress requires a mindset shift.

Staying Positive and Persistent

Typing remains a struggle for me, but now I'm able to make progress by confronting plateaus and managing feelings of frustration and doubt. Staying positive, working at it, and trying different things is crucial. Progress isn't linear; sometimes it's about doing lateral or counterintuitive actions that ultimately lead to improvement.

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Practical Tips and Recommendations

Four years, and you find what works and what doesn't. Eventually, things that seemed unlikely to work start working. Although it may not feel like progress is linear, you come to understand that doing various tasks bit by bit, focusing on what works best for now, helps you move towards the goal of becoming good or even great at something later.

Seeking Support and Celebrating Victories

It's crucial to stay active and engaged in your recovery during plateaus. Give yourself space and time to try new approaches while staying on track. Seek support from friends, fellow survivors, and brain-injured individuals. Don't limit your sources of support. Ask questions that prompt new thinking but take advice with a grain of salt, assessing its relevance to your situation.

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Photo by Gemma Evans / Unsplash

Conclusion and Moving Forward

Plateaus can be tough, but they're essentially just pauses, giving you the opportunity to reassess your situation and evaluate your path. If you're confident you're on the right track, jot down what's working, and if things stop being effective, don't hesitate to step back and try something different. You can always restart, and the longer you stick with it, the better the results will be in the end!

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Photo by Rosie Kerr / Unsplash
About the author
Will Schmierer

Will Schmierer

👋 Hey I'm Will, Stroke Survivor since December 2019 at the age of 37! February 2020 I was diagnosed with MS🧡 If you have questions or need support, feel free to reach out

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