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Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: therapy exercises that may help 

Have you recently been told that you or someone close to you has experienced damage to the right side of the brain? If so, you are not alone. However, you may be eager to learn more about the condition and have questions, such as:

  • How does the right brain participate in daily functioning?   
  • What causes damage to the right brain?
  • What impairments are common after a right hemisphere brain injury?
  • What resources can someone with RHD turn to rebuilding skills that their neurological event or injury may have impacted?

In parallel with our recent post discussing left brain injury, this BrainWire article will demystify right brain injury and answer the above questions. Our hope is that with this information as a starting point, you can begin Brain Injury Awareness Month this March fully empowered with the knowledge you need to optimize your or your loved one’s recovery journey.

What are the key functions of the right brain?

The human brain is divided into two sides (called cerebral hemispheres)–AKA the “left brain” and “right brain”–that work together to control most aspects of the human experience, from emotion to cognition to movement. The left and right hemispheres overlap in some tasks, such as sensory processing and motor regulation., They can work in tandem due to the corpus callosum, a thick bundle of nerves that allows brain signals to travel between the two sides of the brain. However, each brain hemisphere does have specialized functions that differentiate it from the other. 

The right side of the brain is especially important for:

  • Visuospatial awareness 
  • Emotion processing 
  • Deciphering social and nonverbal cues
  • Facial recognition 
  • Creative, artistic, and musical awareness 
  • Left-side motor control 
  • Abstract reasoning 

What functions are affected by right side brain damage?

This infographic describes some of the critical functions of the right side of the brain and common symptoms of right hemisphere brain damage. 

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How does right hemisphere brain damage occur? 

Right hemisphere brain damage, also commonly known as right hemisphere disorder or RHD, can result from any number of neurological injuries or events. Common causes include strokes, which interrupt the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain; traumatic brain injuries, which are caused by an external blow to the head; tumors; and infections. 

What happens when the right side of the brain is damaged? 

While no two instances of right hemisphere brain damage are exactly alike, the disorder can exhibit a pattern of similar symptoms spanning the domains of emotion regulation, social interaction, cognition, and movement. For example, a person with RHD may experience:

  • Left-side motor impairment: Weakness, paralysis, or difficulty with left-side motor control. (While counterintuitive, the right side of the brain controls movement on the left side of the body.)
  • Visuospatial perceptual changes, such as failure to notice or react to stimuli that fall within the left visual field (also known as left-side or left neglect).
  • Difficulty orienting and maintaining attention and remembering information.
  • Struggles with facial recognition. 
  • Challenges with complex and abstract reasoning. 

It is important to remember that right hemisphere brain damage, regardless of its cause, can manifest differently across individuals. You may be confronting all or none of the above symptoms following damage to the right brain, and both of those experiences—as well as everything in between—are normal for an individual with RHD. 

Which Constant Therapy exercises might help with recovery from right hemisphere disorder? 

Fortunately, Constant Therapy has a vast library of evidence-based speech, language, and cognitive therapy activities that can help you build back skills which may be more challenging after a right hemisphere brain disorder diagnosis. Below are suggestions for Constant Therapy exercises in skill areas frequently impacted by RHD. 

Attention, processing speed, and impulse control Constant Therapy exercises: 

Try this cognitive therapy activity to help you remember numbers.

“Remember and say numbers” Constant Therapy exercise (attention)

Visual memory Constant Therapy exercises:

Remember faces therapy exercises helps with visual memory after a right brain injury.

“Match faces” Constant Therapy exercise (visual memory) 

Visuospatial processing Constant Therapy exercises:

Everyday skills like reading calendars can be improved by using Constant Therapy activities like this one.

“Read a calendar” Constant Therapy exercise (visuospatial processing) 

Auditory memory Constant Therapy exercises:

Understanding stories you hear Constant Therapy excercise helps regain important life skills after right hemisphere damage.

“Understand stories you hear” Constant Therapy exercise (auditory memory) 

Analytical reasoning Constant Therapy exercises: 

Analytical reasoning skills are improved when you use this therapy activity.

“Put steps in order” Constant Therapy exercise (analytical reasoning) 

Conclusion

It can be overwhelming to think about where to start as you recover from right hemisphere disorder. At Constant Therapy, we are excited to partner with you along your journey, and we gladly offer a 2-week free trial to ensure that our program is a good match for your individual needs. 

Above all, it is crucial to remember to take care of and be kind to yourself. Some days will be more difficult than others, and when things get especially challenging, don’t feel afraid to reach out for help from a friend, loved one, or trained health professional. Beyond that, remember that neuroplasticity means that your brain has an innate ability to adapt, including after experiencing right hemisphere brain damage. That means that growth is possible, so long as you stay as optimistic as possible through the inevitable ups and downs of recovery.

Curious how left-side brain damage affects daily functions? Read our Left Brain Damage: effects + therapy activities that can help post.

 

Try any of the above-listed therapy activities for free. Start a 14-day trial today.

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1 Comment

  1. Leah

    I really love this program. My SL therapist made this recommendation.

    Reply

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