Physiotherapy is often prescribed in the case of injury or for maintenance of mobility, balance and strength. Neurological conditions often involve symptoms that impact those exact areas, so, you may be wondering if physiotherapy can be beneficial for those with neurological conditions as well.
The short answer is yes, physiotherapy can be beneficial for those with various neurological conditions, however, you should always seek the care of a physiotherapist that is trained in neurophysiotherapy (or Neuro-Physical Therapy). So, what exactly is neurophysiotherapy and how can it help with neurological conditions?
What is Neurophysiotherapy?
Neurophysiotherapy involves treatment by a physiotherapist that has additional training in neurological physiotherapy. Neurological physiotherapy takes into consideration the complicated connection between the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system and their combined role in many of the symptoms associated with neurological conditions.
With many neurological conditions both injury and disease-based, there is a window of time that the un-injured cells are able to re-learn proper functioning allowing the body to regain some control over how it moves and functions. The goal of neurophysiotherapy is to work within that window of time to “train” those cells so that some level of improved functioning and movement is restored and the quality of life of the patient can be enhanced.
Who Can Perform Neurophysiotherapy?
Neurophysiotherapy should only be performed by a trained regulated health professional, most often a physiotherapist or physical therapist that has additional training in neurological conditions and neurophysiotherapy. As neurological conditions require specific knowledge and expertise, if you are considering neurophysiotherapy you should ensure that you visit a clinic and/or physiotherapist that has the proper training in the treatment of neurological conditions such as Impact Physio & Sport Clinic.
What Does Neurophysiotherapy Involve?
At your first appointment, your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment. This assessment includes evaluating overall functioning and understanding your needs and goals for treatment. The information collected in the assessment will be used to form a personalized treatment plan to address the areas of functioning that are most affected and/or that are most important to your quality of life and specific goals.
From here, your treatment will involve a variety of things including exercises, functional training for daily activities, splints/mobility aids and hands-on treatments. Much of your treatment will be one-on-one, focusing on your specific goals and needs such as re-learning/re-training how to stand from sitting, how to walk, or correcting dysfunctions in movements. However, many clinics offer group exercises/training in the form of things like walking groups to help build a support system and accountability.
Depending on the extent of impairment and your particular condition, the use of splints and mobility aids (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc) may be incorporated into your treatment plan. If this is the case, physiotherapy will involve training in the use of the splints or device and learning how to properly use them.
How often you need to see your physiotherapist and how long your treatment plan is will vary depending on your particular condition, willingness to do the work, etc. Typically, in-person treatments will be more frequent when beginning therapy, sometimes a few times a week, and will eventually decrease in frequency as you build up strength and skills and are able to perform and maintain at-home exercises.
What Conditions Can Neurological Physiotherapy Treat?
Neurological Physiotherapy can help with a variety of conditions where movement is impacted such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Bell’s Palsy
- After a stroke
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal Cord Injury
The effectiveness of neurophysiotherapy is dependent on the severity of the condition and many other personal factors relating to the condition and your health. If you are interested in this type of therapy you should always consult with your doctor and physiotherapist before beginning treatment.
What Are The Benefits of Physiotherapy for Neurological Conditions?
The benefits of neurophysiotherapy are well documented, and can include:
- Improved balance.
- Improved walking.
- Better functioning in daily activities.
- Improved strength and stamina.
- Improved quality of life and independence.
While these benefits are more generalized improvements, your treatment plan will be personalized to your life and your specific needs/goals. Whenever possible, your physiotherapist will work to improve the areas of your life that matter most to you.
Neurological conditions can bring with them a lot of fear and uncertainty, but there are things you can do to help improve your movement-based symptoms and maintain your quality of life and independence; this includes incorporating the help of a trained neurophysiotherapist on your healthcare team.
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