Neurological Conditions

While physiotherapy does not "cure" many conditions affecting the nervous system, it can have beneficial effects in modifying the symptoms of neurological problems.

Balance Exercise

The nervous system has a tremendous capacity to learn and relearn and, if guided in the correct way, movement and balance may be recovered to some degree in many people.

Maintaining movement and function are important for independence. Understanding the most appropriate and efficient way to perform everyday tasks will conserve energy, reduce the effects of fatigue and help prevent problems with abnormal or compensatory movement patterns.

Treatment will begin with an individual assessment to determine the specific problems and expectations of each patient/client. During a treatment session the therapist will look at walking, balance, arm and hand function, co-ordination and quality of movement.

A treatment programme may include specific exercises, muscle stretches, balance work and/or walking retraining, dependent on the individual need.

Multiple Sclerosis - MS

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological condition affecting young adults. In the UK, about 100,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis. It is important to stress that symptoms vary greatly from person to person and that everyone will have different experiences of the disease.

Multiple Sclerosis is caused by damage to the protective, insulating coating surrounding the nerve fibres of the central nervous system. This interferes with the messages from the brain to the body and so movement, co-ordination and sensation may be affected. This can lead to problems with walking, balance, muscle spasm, fatigue and pain.

Physiotherapy provided on an individual basis could include a tailored exercise programme to improve strength, co-ordination, flexibility and balance as appropriate. It is important to maintain mobility and prevent complications from disuse, spasm or compensatory movement patterns. Postural advice to reduce spasms and advice on fatigue management may be helpful to conserve energy

Some patients will need a more extensive multi-disciplinary approach with input from several professional groups.

 

Stroke

Every stroke is different and people are affected in many ways. A stroke can occur at any age.

The brain has its own blood supply, a network of tiny vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain tissue. If this supply is disrupted, even for a short time, the cells can be damaged or destroyed and therefore are unable t o do their job properly. The blood supply can be cut off by a blockage, such as a small clot, or by a burst blood vessel.

The symptoms produced by a stroke depend on the area and extent of the brain damage. They can include numbness, weakness, paralysis, loss of balance, speech and swallowing difficulties and problems with walking.

It is possible for other unaffected parts of the brain to take over the job of the damaged area and so recovery is possible over several months or years as the brain re-learns an activity or movement pattern.

Physiotherapy works to enable the relearning of movements while preventing unwanted or abnormal compensatory patterns. It is important to try to minimise or prevent spasm occurring in the muscles which can be uncomfortable and can make normal movements more difficult.

 

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease tends to be considered a disease of older people but it can affect younger people as well. It is caused by an imbalance of chemical transmitters in the part of the brain which processes and co-ordinates movements.

There are three main symptoms:

No two people will have exactly the same symptoms or experiences of Parkinson's Disease as everyone is affected differently. Problems can include walking, talking and writing to different degrees.

There is a range of medications to treat Parkinson's Disease and your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate one to help control and modify your particular symptoms.

Physiotherapy aims to maximise functional ability and so maintain independence through movement rehabilitation and exercise. It is important to encourage and maintain an active lifestyle to minimise secondary complications and problems that can occur through immobility and disuse.

Exercises for the trunk, legs and balance are usually helpful in improving walking. Good posture prevents stiffness and keeps the chest mobile for effective breathing. Movements that are causing problems may be broken down and safe, effective and energy efficient movement strategies taught. Relatives and carers can also be involved to understand the best way in which to help.

 

Head Injury

Following an injury to the head, the brain may be damaged in such a way as to impair its ability to control the body. Depending on the site and extent of the injury, the symptoms can vary greatly. The effects can include problems with mobility, walking, balance, vision, speech, memory, and personality changes.

Each person affected will have his or her own individual rehabilitation needs. Initially treatment would be in a hospital environment, as the injured person needs careful monitoring and supervision. Once his condition is stable, rehabilitation can begin and usually involves a team of many different professions working together.

Physiotherapy aims to retrain movement to regain function, co-ordination and balance and to prevent problems developing with muscle spasm and joint stiffness. A treatment programme may include specific exercises, stretches, positioning and movements.

Once discharged from hospital treatment can continue as an outpatient.

 
Physiotherapy for neurological problems - Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry and Warwickshire