How does this work?

Hey guys how does this recovery and neuroplasticity thing work? Im going on three years right now and ive said before i no longer get much therapy from insurance anymore. I have to raise money for it on my own. I read that damaged neurons need stimulation to heal or they die. So i workout everyday and do the electric stimulation on my left arm everyday. I even drink what i call “brain shakes”(protein powder,turmeric,ground chia seeds and almond milk). I think i work hard like im trying, but i havent felt much progress in a long time, and i dont get it, i dont feel gradual improvement, and an AVM survivor who lives in my city told me he just woke up one day and his left arm was working, granted his injury was alot less severe, but what is going on? I keep trying and trying, but it doesnt seem to help much. People say they see improvements in me but i dont. Will i just wake up someday and have more return if i keep trying? Am i being impatient? Too critical? Is there any good literature on neuroplasticity? Anybody got tips on making improvements?

Hi Mat. I'm sorry |I have no experience with neuroplasticity , but what I can say is.......

every injury is different. Even if we think another persons surgery or rupture looks, the same they are different, and will have differences.
- Sometimes little, but sometimes great. Never give up on trying, hoping, and pure faith. We are the last to see improvement, so trust your friends and family, they will
" NOT " be as hard on you, as you will be on yourself. Try to focus on what is. This will keep you on the reality path and help you with, not getting to far ahead of the journey. If you find yourself getting down, talk with your doctor and let him / her know where you are at.

Eating well is important but please be cautious you don't put to much trust into the fact that if you drink / eat healthy all will return to normal. We as survivors, must still keep in mind that our journey is long. Sometimes we have to wait a long time , for the total reveal

I wish you all the best. we are here to help so keep in touch with all of us

Hi Mat. sorry what I should have said was ....I have no great knowledge about neuropasticity

not experience. Didn't want you to think I was commenting on this, and had not had a avm rupture.

Sorry for that. best wishes

there is a book out in the audio version of The Brain That Changes Itself, by Dr. Norman Doidge,

Neuroplasticity, the brains ability to move the control of functions from one location to another and its ability to carve new neural pathways to allow people to learn new things works incredibly slowly. Every time you learn something new (a new language, a new way to move, etc.) you are experiencing neuroplasticity. You're right that every injury and every recovery is very different. The whole "just woke up and pow! I could move my arm again" is so very rare.

As a dance teacher, I watch students encourage neuroplasticity every lesson I teach as they struggle to figure out how to do a rib cage circle to the right while lifting their left arm while keeping an even but fast hip shimmy going. It's not just people like us with brain damage that use neuroplasticity, it's everyone. We just happen to be pushing ours to get back to a place we had been before rather than pushing it to get someplace new and different.

When there are improvements, you will be the last to see them because you work with your body every single day, and the improvements are almost always tiny, but they slowly add up. This is where a physical therapist or neuropsychologist can help; they can take a baseline measurement of everything from strength to range of motion to flexibility to cognitive function and then compare where you are 6 weeks from now to today.

Are you being impatient? Sure - but then again, that's normal. Are you being too critical? You're probably looking at the big goal and not seeing the small things. Again, that's normal.

It might be time to get a professional to help - they can do an assessment, make sure you're doing the right kinds of exercises to hit the muscle groups that you want, and can watch your form to be sure you're not compensating with other muscle groups. Then they can reassess periodically to make sure you're moving in the right direction.

Whatever you do, don't give up - sometimes it takes a long time for the nerves to regenerate or for the functions to be moved from one area to another. The younger you are, the easier it is for your brain to shift things around. So for old timers like us (anyone over 12) the process is going to take longer.


My experience with neuroplasticity is with taking TruBrain supplements and using Lumosity. The supplements are a bit pricey, but I believe they do work.

With Lumosity, you play a number of games that exercise your brain. Your progress is scored, but only the top five results are tracked. Before the supplements, I would only occasionally score in the top five. More than one was rather rare. After taking the supplements, it is quite common for me to score two or three top five scores. Occasionally more.

I ran it by my neurologist, and his only concern was with side-affects. TruBrain admits to one side-affect, that being of vivid dreams. I came across one independent review, and another side-affect was an increase in alertness.

As for these side-affects, I only experienced one day of increased alertness. As for vivid dreams, I rarely remembered my dreams before, now occasionally I remember them. Well worth the improvement.


well, define work. I mean, it's not an overnight thing. July will be8 years for me and have no change/use in my left hand but have other aspects improved? sure. Your question is kind of a broad one.

You may find "the brain that changes itself by Norman dodge interesting as it addresses neuroplasticity in an understandable way. I am one and a half years post rupture and am using a walker when monitored by therapists. Also doing exercises to help left arm The staff neuro doc told my wife i would never walk or use my left arm again. In addition to my exercises,I picture my left arm and leg moving naturally and think about the muscle movements. Even passive movement helps rebuild the maps I had a severe stroke and am determined to get some sense of pre syroke life back but I know it will take years. And some functions may never return. I will be in recovery and rehab for life. So never give up never!!

Its already on my reading list!

Trubrain? Thanks ill check it out! I actually play lumosity, and i almost never get top five!haha

Mike, I espouse the never give up mantra. I read that book and it was interesting. Good for you in recommending it to Matt.

You won't be surprised to hear this from me, Matt, but check with your doctor before trying Trubrain. :)