What is Pusher Syndrome?
Pusher syndrome is a syndrome where a post-stroke individual pushes away from the non-weak side. Fortunately, this condition is not common, only occurring in about 5-10% of individuals with a stroke. While Pusher Syndrome has been observed and documented in individuals suffering from strokes both in the right and left sides of the brain, many studies note the prevalence of 'pushing behaviors' being significantly higher for individuals who suffered from a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain. Pushing away from the non-weak side and thus towards the weak side results in significant loss of balance and difficulty with many functional tasks. The resulting loss of balance often leads to an increased risk for falls in this population. When someone is diagnosed with Pusher Syndrome, they must take special safeguards to prevent injury. However, pushing behaviors and associated impairments can be improved through focused rehabilitation.
Physical therapists can retrain the brain through visual feedback and motor control/motor learning techniques to correct their misperception of being upright when they are tilted to help the patient regain function.