Can You “Rewire” the Brain?

By Kelley Pacillo, OTR/L ECHM and Kelly Eichelberger, OTR/L Owners /Therapists

In neuro-based Occupational Therapy treatment, we often focus on a concept called neuroplasticity when planning our treatment sessions. It is part of the equation to restoring function after a neurological injury.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change its structure and function in response to experiences, stimuli, or injuries. Neuroplasticity is what allows us to adapt to new situations, learn new skills, and even heal the brain from damage sustained following a neurological injury.

Our brains are not “hardwired”. When focusing on the right things, we have the ability to “rewire” our brains and force them to change and develop to adapt to a new normal.

That means that we can teach our brains to learn new ways to do things and even help to heal some connections that have been damaged.

Occupational Therapy and Neuroplasticity

There are many ways to positively promote neuroplasticity. One way is through Occupational Therapy treatment with a Certified Occupational Therapist.

Research shows us that neuroplasticity works best when linked to meaningful and familiar occupations. This is where Occupational Therapy comes into play. Occupational Therapy is focused on increasing performance and independence through the use of different meaningful occupations such as cooking, gardening, bathing, dressing, fishing, and even grocery shopping. We can positively promote neuroplasticity by engaging the brain and body in neurological recovery.

At Magnolia Neuro Rehab, we are dedicated to only evidence-based practices. Research has indicated that the following treatments can help promote neuroplasticity and recovery:

• High frequency/duration of treatment with focus on high rep activities
• Incorporation of functional tasks that are familiar and meaningful to the client
• Use of modalities such as electrical stimulation and equipment like the Saebo gloves to facilitate treatment
• High intensity activities/exercises
• Cognitive training
• Integration of all senses, including mirror therapy

The team at Magnolia Neuro Rehab will explore the tasks that are important to you and use these tasks to formulate a plan to maximize and maintain independence. We believe in physical progress with functional goals in mind and will always use these concepts to formulate a treatment plan that is right for you!

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