Monday, December 27, 2010

I Can See!

UPDATE 9/7/2016
Some things have changed (the site) but I am keeping the linkl because they have something else you can click on. Posit Science is now known by BrainHQ. They don't offer that particular vision package anymore. Instead, those games have been incorporated in their on-line program. This is good because this program is more affordable. Just click the RED and then START NOW.

Exercises remain the same. Occupational Therapy (OT) already incorporates these. If you want vision as primary, let your therapist know.


After a brain injury it is common to have vision problems (double vision for example, or maybe only one eye works). A common practice has been to ignore the bad eye and learn how to make do with the good eye. I propose something different-rehabilitate that bad eye. In so doing, you'll also increase vision in your other.

I say instead of ignoring the "bad" eye (I've seen it sewn up. Mine was covered with an eye patch.) use it. If you have the ability, purchase InSight from Posit Science, . This serves as the basis. Do the daily recommended schedule. If you can't and must save, then they do provide one demo game, . This is just one of the games in the program and can get you started.

Add reading to your program. If you have a "bad" eye, close your good one. Reading with both eyes open will work on coordination (good for double vision). Watch TV. (What?! This is good?) During commercials close the good eye, and watch with the bad eye. Use both to watch the program. Try to use both equally. It's common to want to use that stonger eye more, so you have to work at it.  Subscribe to an on-line joke-of-the-day or inspirational message. Every day read this with one eye closed. (Here's a trick: Combine this with Speech and read out loud.) Do the same with commercials when watching TV. (TV can be good for you!)

Do eye exercises. This comes from the Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises:

Eye Exercises
Looking up, then down. Slowly at first then quickly (20 times). Looking side to side. Slowly at first then quickly (20 times). Focus on a finger while at arms length. Move the finger one foot closer and back again (20 times).

Do the eye exercises every morning before you get up. You won't have to think of them the rest of the day.

Before starting any of this, wait at least one month after your brain bleed. It's possible any vision problems  will clear up. If it's been awhile since your incident, go ahead and start. It's never too late.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Therapy For Balance

I was looking for something to help my balance. I found Vestibular Therapy. For the original, go to Click the eye for exercises. I'm going to put all of it here though.

This has really helped my balance. Also, this has eye exercises. I encourage anyone with eye problems (like double vision) to do these.

Vestibular therapy works by having you perform motions that are
intended to make you dizzy while at the same time making you focus on your body position and coordination. This helps your brain compensate for lost balance more quickly. The therapy in the form of exercises, can be performed at home or at a vestibular therapy center. Exercises at the center are more elaborate than can usually be done at home (such as jumping on a trampoline) and are theoretically more effective.
The brain is remarkable for its ability to compensate for a balance loss and can compensate for the loss no matter how severe without therapy within a few weeks to a few months. Vestibular therapy accelerates the compensation process. Dizziness that does not substantially improve over time or even gets worse is an indication that damage is continuing to occur to the balance center. This cycle of continuous or periodic damage and compensation can last for years.
Each time damage (or balance loss) occurs to one balance organ, the brain compensates by "lowering" the sensitivity of the other organ. If you start off with a balance "level" of 100 and 10% is lost on average each time damage occurs, your level will change as shown: 100, 90, 81, 73, 66, 60... During the first balance loss, your brain has to compensate for a 10 point balance drop, which is the worst. The second time the loss occurs your brain has to compensate for a 9 point drop. Although this is terrible, it isn't as bad as the first occurrence. With each 10% loss in balance, your brain has less and less to compensate for, therefore each time a loss occurs it will be less severe. Of course this doesn't hold true if you loose 10% the first time and 15% the second. This may be why some people's balance problem appears to "burn itself out" after a few years. They just get to a point where the amont of damage that is periodically occurring is negligable and is quickly compensated for.

Vestibular Exercises
Cawthorne's Vestibular Exercises

Eye Exercises
Looking up, then down. Slowly at first then quickly (20 times). Looking side to side. Slowly at first then quickly (20 times). Focus on a finger while at arms length. Move the finger one foot closer and back again (20 times).
Head Exercises
Bend head slowly forward then backward with eyes open slowly, then quickly (20 times). Turn head from side to side slowly with eyes open slowly, then quickly (20 times). As dizziness decreases, do this exercise with eyes closed.
While sitting, shrug shoulders (20 times). Turn shoulders right then left (20 times). Bend forward and pick up objects from the ground and sit up (20 times).
Change from sitting to standing and back again with eyes open (20 times). Repeat with eyes closed. Throw a small rubber ball from hand to hand above eye level. Throw ball from hand to hand under one knee.
Moving About
Walk across the room with eyes open, then closed (10 times). Walk up and down a slope with eyes open, then closed (10 times). Walk up and down steps with eyes open, then closed (10 times). Observe caution so you don't injure yourself.
Any game involving stooping or turning is good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rehab At Home

Rehab is so little you will have to do more on your own, and when you need updates you will most likely have to research on your own and have to find exercises.  I know I have many therapies covered here so you can find them.  I'm writing this as if it's for the person receiving the services, but it may be 2 or more people, and may include, friends, family, significant others, or caregivers.  I used to do home early intervention programs for parents, so this comes natural.
1.  Know what you have.  Where was your bleed (this gives a clue on what you need)?  What are your limits?  What can you do?  Know your likes and dislikes.  Do you have any hobbies?  All this stuff has to be based on the here & now, not what you want or did.  The things you want to do can be goals you're working to.
2.  Get exercises from your therapist.  The easiest way is for them to provide a hand-out or write it down.  Next is you write it down.  Don't expect to remember it.  You might need these exercises 2 years from now and I doubt they will stay fresh in your memory.

3.  A good tip I learned was that commercials are just wasted time.  Do an exercise when they come on. 

4.  Take whatever you can get.  This may only be 30 days under disability.  You will need this to set up a home program, so get the report.  You will most likely need more, so setting up a home program makes sense.  Use your imagination.  The therapist probably used equipment you don't have, but you may be able to do something else to get the same results.  Modified.  This is a term used by therapists to describe an exercise that has been changed to accommodate the disability.  Don't be afraid to modify, or adapt, something.  Here's an example:  I did modified toe touches.  You'd think this not possible in a wheel chair.  What I did was bend over and touch the floor.  This created the same effect.

5.  If you want to address social skills, I suggest adding a game night (fun and who ever thought it was therapy?).

6.  Before your PT ends, ask the therapist for home exercises.  Preferably, these can be done on your own.  Some ideas are

7.  For OT, occupational therapy, same thing, ask for exercises.  Here's some OT ideas,  Also ask that person about any equipment (cost, ordering info, is it covered?  I once got a website address that's proved useful.)  This person can tell you all kinds of things about living independently, as that is their job.

8.  There are speech exercises at I copied a handout so all could use it.

9  When it comes time, go in and get re-assessed.  A lot don't know this, but although you use up your initial rehab, you can go in once a year to update that initial assessment (unless they change that too).  If it's the beginning of the year, and you are just bored with your exercises, look here and the internet first.  Don't use your only appointment.  You may need it later.