The brain is made up of two hemispheres, the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. Each hemisphere is responsible for controlling different functions in our bodies.
Functions of left side vs right side of the brain:
- The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for: logic, language skills, oral function, sequencing, linear thinking, mathematics, critical thinking, and judgement/reasoning.
- The right hemisphere is responsible for: imagination, art, nonverbal cues, visualization, rhythm, and intuition.
Typically, if someone tends to be more creative and artistic, people often refer to them as ‘right-brained’ thinkers. If someone is more analytical and mathematical, they are usually referred to as ‘left-brained’ thinkers. Physically the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.
So the symptoms may differ to the types of the stroke. Check out this post if you want to know more about what are the different types of stroke.
Now that you know what types of strokes are, let's see what symptoms each stroke has.
Table of contents
Common Symptoms of a Stroke in the Left Side of the Brain
Every stroke is different and will affect people differently based on its severity. However, if someone has a left side brain stroke it can cause the following five symptoms:
Weakness or paralysis to the right side of the body
The left sided weakness symptoms may occur to the person who has a stroke in the left side of the brain. Weakness is caused by damage to the brain and not damage to the limb itself.
Aphasia (speaking, language problems)
Since the left side of the brain controls language many people who have suffered from a left-sided stroke may have difficulties speaking or understanding language, this is called aphasia.
The left side of the brain controls critical thinking, judgment, reasoning, and sequencing, therefore, having a stroke on the left side of the brain can cause someone to have varying levels of cognitive impairments.
The left side of the brain controls all oral functions which include chewing and swallowing. After a left-sided brain stroke one may have trouble chewing and swallowing. One may be put on a feeding tube until they are able to relearn how to swallow or chew.
After having a stroke on the left side of the brain it is common for someone to suffer from visual impairments in the right eye. It is common for someone to lose half of their visual field in their right eye which is called hemianopia. One may also present with neglect to the right side of the body which is called visuospatial neglect.
All of the above-noted symptoms of a left-sided stroke are caused by damage in the brain. In order to retrain the brain after a left-sided stroke, it is important to strengthen the neural pathways that control all of these behaviors and movements by doing repetitive exercises. The more repetitive exercises and movements one does, the stronger the pathways in the brain will become. This is called neuroplasticity.
Symptoms of stroke in the cerebellum and brainstem
1) Symptoms of a cerebellum stroke
Although strokes are less common in the cerebellum area, the effects can be severe.
Common effects of strokes in the cerebellum include:
- Inability to walk and problems with coordination and balance (ataxia)
2) Symptoms of a brainstem stroke
The brainstem is located at the base of the brain right above the spinal cord. Many of the body’s vital “life-support” functions are controlled by the brainstem. It also helps to control the main nerves involved with eye movement, chewing, and swallowing and maintains the homeostasis.
Examples of functions on brainstem:
- Breathing and heart functions
- Body temperature control
- Balance and coordination
- Chewing, swallowing, and speaking
A stroke in the brainstem can be fatal. Some individuals who survive brainstem strokes are left with Locked-In Syndrome, a rare condition in they cannot make voluntary movements other than with their eyes.
The human nervous system has neuroplasticity. While damaged brain cells will not survive, neurons in intact brain areas continue to expand and change even after the acute incident (from 6 months and beyond).
These neurons can take over the information and roles that the damaged area was responsible for, and the body changes accordingly. Neuroplasticity regenerates the brain's nerves and improves body functions through sensory and motor stimuli from the outside. This is why ongoing rehabilitation is beneficial after a stroke.
One way to continue to make progress in strengthening your neural pathways is using Neofect Smart Glove or Neofect Smart Board. These products can help the brain's ability to rewire itself and to increase the range of motion and strength in the upper extremities. The best part is that they do this with fun and engaging games!
To learn more about the Neofect Smart Rehab Solutions, call us (888) 623-8984 or email us at email@example.com to start your smart rehab with the Neofect today.
- National Stroke Association - http://www.stroke.org/
- Johns Hopkins Medicine - https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/stroke/effects-of-stroke
- Becky Alter, OTR/LBecky is an occupational therapist and healthcare content writer based out of Denver, CO.