You may have been told that you have “reached a plateau in your recovery” from Stroke. What is meant by this? Well, the person who is telling you this sees that your progress- in some area of your recovery- is not moving forward. However, it is a good idea to look closely at why your progress is not moving in a positive direction. There can be MANY reasons why your progress is not moving as quickly as it once did. Some of those reasons are:
You have not been focused- When you are not able (or willing) to be focused on your improvement, your progress may slow. It takes WORK to improve from a Stroke. Many repetitions of movements or tasks are required to learn those movements/tasks. If you are not putting in the time/energy, your progress may slow.
Your therapist has not been focused- To make a great improvement in a particular area, takes skillful focus from the person guiding you. If that person is trying to have you improve in many different areas of function or movement, your rate of progress may not be as great. It is always a good idea to re-group and determine what your goal for any particular therapy session, exercise or task is. You can discuss those things with your therapist, it may be that some specific focus on a very specific movement or task is needed.
What is being measured- If you are looking at completing some task/function as your goal, you may not be looking at the very significant incremental improvements that it takes to reach that goal. For example: Your goal is to walk up the stairs step over step. You may not be making significant changes in how quickly or consistently you do that task. But...you may be making improvements in your range of movement in your hip and knee, strength and control in your knee bending muscles, and in your balance reactions. Those are all parts of the task of walking up stairs step over step. And improvement in those areas will ultimately result in improvements in the task.
You have run out of “Rehabilitation Endurance”: Like I said earlier, it takes A LOT of WORK to improve after a Stroke. Sometimes you just need a break from the process. Time to let you enjoy some things that you may not have been able to because you were tending to the rehab process. You need a mental break from the focus that it takes. You need time to renew your spirit to move forward in a meaningful way.
Your Therapist has Plateaued: Yes this occurs. All therapists have training in school as generalists. When we get out of school, we can independently pursue Specialization. It is important for you to know if your therapist is a Specialist in working with Stroke. You can feel free to ask them what they have done to become Specialized in working with survivors of Stroke. If you don’t feel like you are receiving the specialized care you want, find the Specialist that you feel will work best to help you move forward from your plateau.