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Feldenkrais Method
Stroke, Head Injury

Stroke is a general term for a cerebral vascular accident (CVA) of which there are three main types: hemorrhagic, infarct, thrombolitic.


Vascular hemorrhage, or bleeding, if large enough, can result in serious damage to the brain. Uncontrolled high blood pressure blood can cause vessels burst. When there is a weakness in a blood vessel in the brain (aneurysm), there can be warning signs like an incredible headache before there is a rupture. Trauma to the head by either falling down, car accidents or by being hit in the head by an object can cause bleeding.

During difficult births, babies can have bleeding in the brain causing stroke-like brain damage. Bleeding can also occur in a newborn's ventricles (fluid-filled sacs in the brain) which blocks the flow of cerebral spinal fluid which creates swelling of the head. (hydrocephalus).


An infarct (tissue death caused by insufficient blood supply), in the brain can be caused by plaque build up in the arteries of the brain (arteriosclerosis) or in the vessels of the neck (carotid arteries). Some people can also have temporary neurological symptoms called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). See link

Causes of a TIA can be hypotension (low blood pressure), over-medication by high blood pressure medicines, poor cardiac output, micro-blood clots and spasming of blood vessels especially if they are partially occluded.

I have heard of incidents where older persons have reported transient stroke-like symptoms after being exposed to extreme cold temperatures or very cold drafts blowing on the neck. See link for picture of atherosclerotic clot, thrombolitic clot:


Thromboses (blood clots), small or large can lodge themselves in the brain causing a loss of blood flow and subsequent brain damage. Clots can originate in the limbs or heart.

Often a clot originates in the back of the calf/knee. When a clot travels it is called an embolus. A clot may travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), or it can go to the brain. A filter can be inserted into the vein returning to the heart, in order to stops blood clots from passing into the lungs and brain, when there is a risk of more clots forming. There are several clot-busting drugs now available. When given within a few hours after the clot develops, they restore blood flow to the brain and minimize tissue death. In these cases it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention. See link for picture of embolism:

Head Injury

Any time there is a blow to the head or a motion that shakes the brain violently there can be a brain injury.

Cognitive difficulties following a head injury can be one of the most frustrating and embarrassing problems for some one who looks and feels otherwise normal. See link for various degrees and symptoms.

Brain Damage

With any brain damage whether it is from a CVA, head trauma or brain surgery, the degree of neurological dysfunction will vary.

Depending on area of the brain effected and the extent of the damage you may see the following problems:
memory loss, difficulty thinking, word finding problems, slurred speech, swallowing difficulty, visual field loss, emotional lability (poorly controlled emotion), poor judgment, impulsivity, weakness/paralysis of arm, leg and /or torso, poor balance, motor planning problems, disorganized thinking, sensory changes and spasticity (uncontrollable muscle contraction).


Some improvement in these symptoms may be seen within several days or over several years following the incident.

After a vascular insult, scarring takes place in the many layers of tissue around the damaged and reduces the mobility of the skull. Once a patient is medically stable craniosacral work is very beneficial. It can restore cranial mobility improving overall circulation, healing and function of the brain. Mobilizing the cranium helps not only with blood supply but the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid. Problems with weakness, and poor coordination can be improved with Feldenkrais work. More and more evidence shows that dedicated retraining of a weak area of the body can produce amazing improvement. The greatest improvement is seen in patients who have areas of the brain controlling cognition and motivation most intact.

For more information on strokes see

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MovementWise Christine Inserra P.T.
Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique & Feldenkrais Method
Physical Therapy serving Chicago and the Greater Chicagoland Area