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Right brain injury vs. left brain injury | understanding the impact of brain injury on daily life

Constant Therapy | Traumatic brain injury

You’ve had a brain injury or stroke and certain things in your daily life are affected, but not everything. You know your injury was on the right side of your brain. So, why are you having trouble with actions on the left side of your body? Here’s a quick explanation of which side of the brain is responsible for what types of thoughts, emotions, and actions. You might be surprised!

Your brain is amazingly complex. It allows you to accomplish all kinds of feats every day, from simply picking up an apple off a table, to singing, reading, speaking, understanding or feeling emotions.  The human brain is so complex that scientists are still making new discoveries about how it works.

Your brain is divided into two sides, called hemispheres

The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, and the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. Interesting, right? The two sides of your brain are similar to one another; for example, the part of your brain that tells your arms and legs to move is the same on the right and left – it just controls different sides of your body. Download a copy of the Right Brain vs. Left Brain infographic here

What’s the difference between the right side and the left side of your brain?

left brain right brain infographicYou can download a copy of the Right Brain vs. Left Brain infographic here.

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We know from patterns of brain damage (for example stroke, traumatic brain injuries, or brain tumors), that when the left side of the brain is damaged in the areas that have been associated with speech production and language comprehension, people present with Aphasia (difficulty comprehending and/or expressing language). These language difficulties are (in almost all situations) not seen if the same damage is done on the right side of the brain.  So we know that the left side of the brain is very important for language and understanding. Other functions of the left side of the brain are analytical, logical, and computation skills. The left side of the brain is concerned with language, number skills, reasoning, scientific skills, spoken language, and right-hand control. The left side is the hub of language, where you “assemble” the language (words and sentence structure) you want to communicate. This is not to say that the right side of your brain has no involvement with language; the two sides of your brain work together to perform functions such as understanding, reasoning, and organizing language.

The right side of your brain is in charge of visual awareness, imagination, emotions, spatial abilities, face recognition, music awareness, 3D forms, interpreting social cues, and left-hand control. It performs some math, but only rough estimations and comparisons. The brain’s right side also helps us to comprehend visual imagery and make sense of what we see. It plays a role in language, particularly in interpreting context and a person’s tone, staying on topic in a conversation and organizing your thoughts and ideas.

What if my brain injury or stroke is on the LEFT SIDE of my brain?

Injury to the left side of the brain may result in right-sided weakness and the following communication problems:

  • Receptive Language: Problems with understanding spoken or written language (listening and reading)
  • Expressive Language: Problems with expressing spoken or written language
  • Apraxia of Speech: Problems with programming and coordinating the motor movements for speaking
  • Dysarthria: Aspects of the speech system is impacted, which may result in slurred speech or a change in how your voice sounds
  • Computation: Problems with number and math skills
  • Analyzing: Problems with solving complex problems

(Source: Centre for Neuroskills)

What if my brain injury or stroke is on the RIGHT SIDE of my brain?

Injury to the right side of the brain may result in left-sided weakness and the following cognitive and communication problems:

  • Attention: Difficulty concentrating on a task or focusing on what is said or seen.
  • Left neglect: Problems with attending to things on the left side
  • Visual perception: Visual perception deficits including processing any information on the left visual field
  • Reasoning and problem solving: Difficulty identifying that there is a problem and generating solutions
  • Memory: Difficulty recalling previously learned information and learning new information.
  • Social communication: Difficulty interpreting abstract language such as metaphors, making inferences, understanding jokes, and nonverbal cues.
  • Organization: Difficulty with arranging information and planning, which is often reflected in communication difficulties, such as trouble telling a story with events in the right order, giving directions, or maintaining a topic during conversation.
  • Insight: Difficulty recognizing problems and their impact on daily functioning.
  • Orientation: Difficulty recalling the date, time, or place.

(Source: ASHA)

Additional resources for understanding the impact of stroke or injury to your brain

Brain injury exercises on demand

Constant Therapy is a cognitive & speech therapy app that helps people with brain injury, stroke and aphasia recover key speech and cognitive skills – like memory, math, reading, writing, counting change, and more. Built and tested by a team of top neuroscientists and clinicians at Boston University, Constant Therapy has proven effective in multiple peer-reviewed, published research studies.

Both clinicians and patients can download and use Constant Therapy. 

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  1. Rylee

    Thank you for helping me understand! AP Psychology has me confused, and this has helped.

    • Rosemary Jabu Gumede

      I experience pain on my left side of the scalp and left earlobe due to the left side of the brain being damaged by meningitis, how to ease the pain?

      • Constant Therapy

        Hi Rosemary, we are sorry to hear you are struggling with those symptoms! If possible, we suggest speaking with a healthcare provider about them and how to best address it.

  2. Ramneet Kaur

    Could you please suggest the apps for speech therapy? My father had left sided stroke and its been 7 months now.

      • Dolores Hunter

        I want to help a family member who has a brain injury….help them understand what is required to heal

        • Constant Therapy

          Brain injury recovery will look different for everyone, so it is important to discuss next steps with a healthcare provider. It is great to hear that they have you for support! If you’d like to learn more about brain injuries, check out this collection of articles

    • Carl John Hawthorn

      Ramneer Kaur, I have seen your post on the web, My name is Carl John Hawthorn and I had a very big brain haemmorage in 2008 at the age of 38 years old, and my injury is left side of my brain, I have seen the professor in Birmingham on 20th September 2023 after trying to find out help for a long time, my brain injury was and is big, I had to learn how to speak again and it has took me seven years, I still have some brain injury problems, but a few weeks ago I have been told by a professor in Birmingham England told me about counter balancing my brain he has advised me to keep on using my right side to try to counter balance, so I have been making oil paintings for 12 years now, and the professor advised me to use my right side of my brain to counter balance my brain injury, I am not a doctor but I wanted to share what I have found out, and my experience also is to keep on setting myself tasks every day, the right side of my brain is ok, so he told me to use artistic part of my brain more, like drawing and painting and music etc. I hope you don’t mind me sharing what I have found out, I hope this helps you. Carl John Hawthorn.

  3. Moses kerry

    I experience numbness and pain only on the left side of my brain for almost 5 days now its still continuing. I suspected it’s happens due to two days of drinking. I’m worried the situation might develop into something worse I’m not sure. Ples I need some help. Thank you

    • Constant Therapy

      Please go to a doctor as soon as possible to have this condition addressed as we don’t offer medical advice.

  4. Tvsubbalakshmi

    My husband had brain hemorrhage and he is in coma after brain surgery. How long it will take to recover don’t know. It is left side of brain. Kindly advice.

  5. Jodie Fieldhouse

    My 5 year old suffered crushing trauma to his brain when his multisuture craniostenosis was not managed properly and pressure built up. He has muscle weakness on his left side but his recent electro test (VER) shows that the right side of his brain is in top average range but the left side is slow.

    Can injury to the right side of the brain cause the left side of the brain to be slower? Or do these results mean the left side is damaged and maybe a little of the right side too?

    • Constant Therapy

      Hi Jodie, we are so sorry to hear that your son is going through this. Regarding your questions, there are distinct differences when it comes to left brain vs right brain injury. However each case can present uniquely depending on the mechanism of injury and other factors, such as age. We recommend following up with a neurologist as this seems like a unique case. Wishing your son a smooth recovery and all the best to you and your family!

  6. Christine Rankin

    Stroke is my 1 is July 18 2018 is went speech I was together to again I was August 22 2021 is that second that is voice of my are imagine to can’t was not their was December of anymore of can more that was that was of 18 years nothing I didn’t can some of I frustrated me me in the count of 3 letters I said can’t but

    • Constant Therapy

      Hi Christine, we are sorry to hear about the challenges you have faced over the years. It sounds very frustrating, and we commend you for your perseverance. We believe in you, keep pushing forward!


    Hi if I am having motivational problem,such as struggling to stay focused on important goals would that be because of my right side of my brain or left side of my brain,for I have more than one head injury .

    • Constant Therapy

      Hi Linda, we’re sorry to hear you are struggling with these issues. Right side brain injuries can impact attention and focus, however we recommend talking to a healthcare provider to understand your specific situation. They can also provide you with resources to address lack of motivation, as that could be related to other types of mental health as well. In the meantime, here is an article about motivation post-TBI

  8. College Brawl

    I found this article to be incredibly informative and helpful in understanding the differences between right brain and left brain injuries. As someone who has experienced a brain injury myself, I can attest to the challenges of living with this condition. It’s nice to see a comprehensive overview of the impact of brain injury on daily life, and I appreciate the practical tips and resources provided in the article. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  9. Suzanne Divett

    Why does my brother have a left-sided paralysis after having a left-sided brain injury ?

    • Constant Therapy

      Hi there Suzanne! Thanks for your question. There are many different reasons why your brother may have left-sided paralysis after having a left-sided brain injury. It may be most beneficial to speak with his neurologist or another healthcare provider as to why this is occurring. Having access to all of his medical information, they could provide you with an answer specific to your brother’s case.

  10. katre nil

    Hi My name is Katre. 1985/86 i had a brain tumor on the left lobe. My righ side was paralized and it was growing. They removed it. 7 years later i started to have epilepsy grand mal seizures. 2015 my doctor said 38 % of my left lobe is missing.part because of the surgery and part to the seizures.. after that ive learned an other lamguage. It took me 3 years to talk and understand it. I would like to know is the end of these kind of healtisues beiing paralized in bed???

    • Constant Therapy

      Hello, thank you for your comment and sharing your story with us. Everyone’s journey is different, and it sounds like you have gone through a lot over the years. We cannot say for sure what your (or anyone’s) health trajectory is, and that uncertainty can be stressful. We are so proud of you for achieving your language goals, and we are here to support you. Keep up the great work, one day at a time!


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