Pusher syndrome, also known as contraversive pushing, is a rare neurological condition characterized by a strong and persistent lateral (sideways) preference, which can result in a tendency to lean or push away from the affected side.
Individuals with pusher syndrome may push themselves away from the unaffected side, causing them to fall towards the affected side. This can make it difficult for them to maintain a sitting or standing position, and they may also have difficulty walking in a straight line.
Pusher syndrome is most commonly seen in individuals who have suffered a stroke affecting the right hemisphere of the brain, although it can also occur as a result of other neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury or brain tumors. The exact cause of pusher syndrome is not fully understood, but it is thought to result from damage to certain areas of the brain that control perception and awareness of body position.
In particular, damage to the posterior parietal cortex and other brain areas involved in processing sensory information can disrupt the brain's ability to accurately perceive the body's position in space. This can result in a distortion of the individual's sense of upright posture and a tendency to lean or push towards one side.
Treatment for pusher syndrome typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, including physical therapy to improve balance and coordination, occupational therapy to help with activities of daily living, and speech therapy if there is also a communication or cognitive impairment. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage underlying symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
Rehabilitation is a key component of treatment for pusher syndrome, and it may take several weeks or months to see improvement. With appropriate treatment and support, many individuals with pusher syndrome are able to improve their balance and functional ability, and in some cases may make a full recovery.