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:
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.
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.
This infographic describes some of the critical functions of the right side of the brain and common symptoms of right hemisphere brain damage.
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.
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:
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.
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:
“Remember and say numbers” Constant Therapy exercise (attention)
Visual memory Constant Therapy exercises:
“Match faces” Constant Therapy exercise (visual memory)
Visuospatial processing Constant Therapy exercises:
“Read a calendar” Constant Therapy exercise (visuospatial processing)
Auditory memory Constant Therapy exercises:
“Understand stories you hear” Constant Therapy exercise (auditory memory)
Analytical reasoning Constant Therapy exercises:
“Put steps in order” Constant Therapy exercise (analytical reasoning)
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.