What should you expect to achieve in neurologic rehabilitation? My answer might confuse you, frustrate you, and hopefully challenge you to think differently.

The most critical component of a successful outcome (in neurologic rehabilitation) is NOT based on the extent of the damage to the nervous system.  More than that, it is the most common factor that many people choose to use to “forecast” where someone will end up. And, in my opinion, this focus on “physical damage” is the greatest barrier to a successful outcome.  If you are someone who has “beaten the odds”, or “proved the experts wrong”, you know what I am talking about. For the rest of you, this might be the most important “concept” to grasp if you want to reach your maximum potential.

Let’s set the “science” aside for one minute and open the scroll of “experience”.  Experience has taught me, 10% (of recovery from damage to the neurologic system) has to do with the actual damage (to the brain and/or spinal cord). The other 90% is determined by how someone chooses to respond to their physical injury. In other words, 90% IS “mental” and 10% is “physical”.

Now, to all of you realists out there. I know what you are thinking… “This chick has fallen off her rocker”. While you may have a point (in several areas of my life),🤷🏻‍♀️ I assure you, I am clear as a bell when it comes to this topic.

Case and point, there is “John”. I can recall the doctors coming into his room every morning (for about 4 weeks straight) and this is how the conversation went:

John: Will I walk again?

Medical Team: No

John: I don’t believe you. I know I will walk again

Medical Team: Chuckle, exit the room, eye roll to one another.🙄

Me: double eye roll to the eye roll……🙄 🙄 😑

This is a true story. One that I have held on to for nearly 18 years. Why? Because “John” was right. He did walk again.

This is just one of the countless stories I play over in my head. Why? Because it is what gets me out of bed in the morning knowing that I have another opportunity to help someone prove them wrong. You know, all the “experts”.

So, why do I tell you this story? Because I have seen it time and time again. Those who choose to persevere (through an extremely unfortunate and unexpected health crisis)……..WILL win. Said another way, the ones who choose to ignore the “science” and believe in the power of their own “will”.  They are the ones who “win”. Along those same lines, I believe this is a “skill” that anyone can choose to develop. And in return, WILL win.