The Street-wise Guide to Surviving a Stroke

Tom Balchin

​Foreward by Andrew Marr

Available January 2020

ISBN 9781912224999  Paperback  £19.99 Order

ISBN 9781911454120  Hardback   £40.00 ​ Order

ISBN 9781911454151  eBook         £11.99 ​ Order

216 x 140mm. 206pp. 146 b&w illustrations.


Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.

About this book

This concise and practical book is a ‘how-to’ in the truest sense of the word - it charts a path through the maze for you and enables you quickly to become the expert-patient.
The Street-wise guide offers you real-life options for real self-recovery and self-management of the physical limitations caused by stroke.
The author is himself a stroke survivor who has created, over the last twenty years, an internationally-known new approach to innovative stroke rehabilitation.
Every stroke results in different outcomes, dependent on thousands of variables. A clear-cut background to stroke and the problems it may cause is presented here.

Here you will learn: 

  • Why your own stroke has caused physical and psychological limitations.   
  • How to regain action control and self-manage using evidence-based and innovative strategies. 
  • How to take advantage of your brain’s capacity for neuroplasticity by learning how to dramatically extend the ‘therapeutic time window’ you may be told about.

Dr. Balchin reveals how best to recover lower and upper limb action control as well as strength and cardiovascular health via the introduction of a special re-training programme that you can adopt, adapt and explore further to your own requirements.
He shows you how to transition to successful ‘life after stroke’ - whatever is your ultimate goal. This may be about enhancing your quality of life and coping abilities or seeking ultimately to get back to work. Dr. Balchin shows here how novel home-use and clinically-based tools based on technologies to improve motor recovery can work. The reader is offered key information on robotic devices, and on brain computer interfaces, as well as virtual reality and non-invasive brain stimulation.
Dr. Balchin explains the drugs that stroke survivors are prescribed and what they do, how to access further direct clinical and community sources and what you need to know of the availability of further cutting-edge interventions on the horizon.
The book will be of major assistance to anyone who has had the misfortune to have had a stroke and is entering the recovery phase, and to their families and supporters. The text is written for stroke survivors, but it has considerable relevance to those with other neurologically disabling conditions, such as acquired brain injury or spinal injury. 
Most importantly, this book will help you to show those who care about you most that you can do it. You can beat stroke!

1: Introduction
2: What is Stroke
Epidemiology, Stats, Risk Factors
3: Acute Stroke Care             
Care pathway, Procedures, medication, MDT, Discharge to community
4. After hospital:
Overview of the limitations you can be left with
Physical incl S&L difficulties/vision
Psychological incl cognitive difficulties
5: Why do you need to ‘re-train’
What is re-training? (Rehabilitation plus training = progressive recovery)
What is neuroplasticity?
Why do you need to consider your cardio health?
Why do you need to train for action control?
Why do you need to train for strength improvement?
Why might you need to train for S&L improvement/vision?
Why might you need to seek help for speech and language difficulties and other concomitant problems (eg vision)?
Why might you need to seek help for psychological difficulties and other concomitant problems (eg cognition)?
6. Re-training after stroke
How to start? Goal-setting etc
How to train for cardio health
How to train for action control – split into lower body and upper body  – 4 techniques
How to train for strength - split into lower body and upper body  - 4 techniques
How to get help for Psychological incl cognitive difficulty improvement, S&L improvement/vision etc
7. Augmenting Stroke Rehabilitation with Technology
What is technology for stroke
Introducing FES, Robots, VR and Rehab Gaming, Active Orthotics – naming various types of low-tech, mid-tech and high-tech kit with pics
8: Self-Management
Prevention of further stroke – ramping up steps per day/what kind of home-kit to consider- etc, recumbent exercise bike/Fitbit etc
Drugs for stroke – BOTOX, Baclofen, Tizanidine – for plasticity, Fluoxetine. What they do and how to ask for their appropriateness
How to get better at ADL’s
9: Life after Stroke
Quality of life improvement – what steps can be taken (reduction in supports, reduction in medication, back to driving)
Back to work
3 Case Studies
Joining back in to community10. Conclusion
Extra: Useful resources to augment stroke rehabilitation resources – websites/books/kit – how to request/buy
contacts – people who can help augment stroke rehab/their links
places to go for outpatient assistance – nationally and internationally – a sample 

About the author
Dr. Tom Balchin, MEd, PhD, FRSB, is the Founder and Director of the ARNI Institute [Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury]. He has worked at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Brunel, Reading and Middlesex Universities specialising in high ability, gifted education, the creative brain and stroke rehabilitation. He is currently Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.


"As a stroke survivor, for me, there is still a long way ahead even after six years of hard work. But whenever I feel like giving up or giving into self-pity, I can hear Tom’s kindly but implacable voice in my head. For the truth is the most important thing in stroke recovery remains attitude. This book gives you in one place, so far as I’m concerned for the first time, everything that a stroke survivor in modern Britain really needs to know. It tells you what happened, and probably why, and what can be done about it. It doesn’t shirk the grim bits. It explains the jargon. But, while Tom Balchin doesn’t sugar-coat the assault on the brain and its effects, on almost every page he gives the reader reasons for optimism and essential information. I remain upset about the lack of top-quality physiotherapy available on the NHS for stoke survivors. Simply put, there is not nearly enough of it, for nearly long enough. Given that stroke is the number one source of disability in the UK, this seems to me a gross misdirection of resources and international waste."

"So, in the meantime, if you are one of the large number of people who have suffered from a stroke, or if you are a friend or relative of somebody who has, or even if you are simply anxious and curious and wonder whether it will happen to you one day, then I urge you to read this brief, brisk, no-nonsense and candid book. And, if you are the person who has had the stroke, then I would urge you to go further and to contact ARNI, Tom Balchin’s formidable, fighting, charity organisation and to get some direct help with training and rehabilitation. It changed my life… and all for the better.​" - Andrew Marr

“Who better to write a guide to stroke recovery than someone who has had one? And of those, there can be none better than Tom. He’s smart, and studied the science to find ways to ‘go beyond the usual’. No quackery, this, but an inspirational and practical evidence – and experienced-based recipe for recovery. I strongly commend it.”
– Professor Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine, UCL, Consultant Intensivist at the Whittington Hospital, Head of Centre at the Human Health and Performance, UCL Division of Medicine, Director of Research at The Institute for Sport, Exercise and Health, London.

“The book is an excellent guide for stroke survivors. It provides essential information about multidimensional aspects of stroke from its impacts on the body to rehabilitation strategies. The illustration of fundamental exercises and explanation of evidence-based practice models in simple way even make it more interesting for readers.”
– Dr Mohsen Shafizadeh, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Motor Control and Movement Analysis, Sheffield Hallam University.

“This comprehensive and empowering book is a must-read for stroke survivors and their families. The book uses Tom Balchin’s own experience of stroke, as well as his work with others over the past 20 years. It is highly readable and provides clear explanations of every step of the stroke journey as well as no-nonsense practical steps that everyone can take to improve their quality of life after stroke.”
 Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Director, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging & Director, Plasticity Group at Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, Oxford University.

“This is an engaging, easy to read book, suitable for anyone on their journey following a stroke as well as for their family, friends and carers. It focuses on how to personally tailor the retraining of mind and body to optimise recovery from stroke. Tom’s messages instil hope and confidence, and a desire to try yet harder and achieve great things that matter to the individual; yet the book is also written with compassion and kindness – to accept limitations that may remain. Thank you, Tom, for putting together this ‘roadmap to recovery’ for stroke survivors.”
– Professor Sarah Dean, Professor of Psychology Applied to Rehabilitation and Health, University of Exeter Medical School.