Physiotherapy for Neurological Conditions
The term ‘neurological conditions’ comprises a wide range of diseases and injuries that effect the central and/or peripheral nervous system. It is however possible to subcategorize neurological conditions. Presented below is a overview of the types of physiotherapy treatment that patients with neurological conditions benefit from.
Physiotherapy for Degenerative Neurological Conditions
Two examples of degenerative neurological conditions are Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). These are diseases that degrade the function of the neurological system over time. Little can be done to stop the progression of these types of diseases but Physiotherapists can still have a profoundly positive effect of the quality of life of patients living with these diseases.
Physiotherapy for degenerative neurological conditions is focused on:
- Strategies to compensate for any lost neurological function
- Exercises to preserve function that remains
- Preservation of the patient’s joint mobility and strength
- Preservation of balance
- Preservation of activities of daily living (such as dressing, cooking, cleaning etc)
- Prescribing devices to aid with tasks that have become difficult
- Prescribing mobility aids
- Education on their condition
- Evaluation of the progression of their condition
Physiotherapy Secondary Neurological Conditions
A secondary neurological condition can be defined as one that has developed as a result of some other pathological process. Two examples of this are Stroke, which develops as a result of an event limiting blood flow to part of the brain and the neurological impairment that can result from a mass or tumor in the brain. The symptoms and impact of these conditions depends entirely on what part of the brain is effected and how widespread the damage is. Recovery after stroke, or after the successful treatment of a brain tumor is possible owing to the amazing ability of the brain to adapt and reorganize itself called neural plasticity.
Physiotherapy for secondary neurological conditions is focused on stimulating neurological plasticity so that the patient can regain functions that they have lost. Because of this, treatment plans vary widely and are designed to address the specific deficits that the patient is experiencing. Neurological Physiotherapists must be creative individuals who can devise complex treatment plans with tasks that progress toward the patients goals.
Physiotherapy for Traumatic Neurological Conditions
Neurological impairments can also be the result of trauma. Some examples are head injuries/concussions, spinal cord injuries or peripheral nerve injuries resulting from a traumatic event. These are very specialized areas of Physiotherapy that require specific training and expertise. Physiotherapy is very successful at helping people with these types of injuries recover and to live more full and normal lives. A complete recovery is not possible for all people with neurological impairments. However, the vast majority can be helped a great deal by a Physiotherapist skilled in Neurological rehabilitation.
Neurological disorders are among the most challenging diagnoses to have for both the patient and the Physiotherapist. However, the impact that Physiotherapy has on the lives of people with Neurological impairments in enormous.