Many neurological conditions can problems with normal function and movement. Physical therapists specialize in movement and can help recover after a stroke or other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Neurological conditions are challenging and having a physical therapist on your side to help maximize your function can be very beneficial. Studies have shown that physical therapy is very beneficial to those who suffer from neurological conditions.
Specific Neurological conditions and Physical Therapy
Without physical therapy following a neurological injury, patients may be unable to perform certain activities, lose function, and lose their independence. The following conditions can benefit from guidance of a physical therapist:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s nerve cells. It’s a progressive disease. The disease can cause slurred speech, severe tremors, walking difficulties, and irregular facial expressions. Physical therapy has been shown to help those with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It improves flexibility and strength. As a matter of fact, physical therapy is now an essential part of many treatment plans. Your physical therapist can help address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as walking, freezing, and dystonia.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in adults. Your physical therapist is part of the stroke rehabilitation team and will develop an individualized plan for the best outcome. Your physical therapist can help you improve walking and balance, train you on how to use assistive devices and provide training for your caregivers. The goal of your physical therapist is to help you regain functional skills after a stroke, so you can get back to your life.
With multiple sclerosis, it’s likely that you’ll be feeling weakness, fatigue and pain. Physical therapy can help you manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. A physical therapist will help you with stretches to ease muscle spasms, exercises to keep muscles strong and specific range-of-motion exercises for movement. With physical therapy, you can improve balance problems and difficulties moving your body. You’ll also be given expert instruction on how to use assistive devices, such as a cane or wheelchair. A physical therapist can help you through all the stages of multiple sclerosis.
The field of neurological therapy and physical therapy work together today. It gives patients who suffer from a neurological condition the best of both worlds. Do you suffer from a neurological condition? Is this condition impacting your lifestyle? If so, be sure to call us today for a comprehensive evaluation and assessment. Our skilled and knowledgeable physical therapists can help you manage the symptoms of your neurological condition. Each patient has unique needs, and our therapists will provide you with an individualized treatment plan for success.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system and the ability to coordinate movement in the body. Since Parkinson’s Disease affects many areas of the brain, symptoms can vary in individuals and progression can be either mild, moderate or aggressive. Parkinson’s Disease typically affects one’s ability to walk with slower movements (bradykinesia) and difficulty with starting or stopping walking. In addition, movements tend to become slower along with tremors that may occur in the hands. Muscles can become quite rigid, leading to loss of motion and poor posture. A dangerous symptom is called retropulsion, where the tendency of an individual is to fall backwards with little to no ability to protect oneself.
Speech can also be affected with Parkinson’s Disease becoming slurred and slow due to poor activation of the mouth, tongue and throat muscles. In addition, eating and drinking can become challenging due to difficulty with swallowing. Symptoms may also include difficulty with writing, becoming illegible or very small.
How therapy helps
Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are essential therapies for people with Parkinson’s Disease. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease currently, a tremendous amount can be done to improve one’s function and maintain gains. In coordination with your physician, rehabilitation focuses on improving movement, safety, independence with activities, transfers, cognitive and speech / swallowing. Physical therapists focus on improving range of motion, strength, stamina, safety with transfers from low surfaces, posture and movement in patients with Parkinson’s.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is neurological disease that causes the body’s immune system to abnormally attack the covering of the nerve cells, called myelin. This causes scarring and decreases the nerve’s ability to transmit signals properly. The progression of MS is based on 4 different types of aggressiveness. Multiple sclerosis is categorized by bouts of activity, with periods of minimal to no activity, depending on the different type of MS you may be suffering from. Symptoms can vary person to person dramatically as different parts of the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves are affected, making no two cases alike.
Common symptoms of MS are fatigue, numbness or tingling in the face, body or extremities, weakness, dizziness or vertigo, pain, walking difficulties, loss of balance, bladder and bowel problems and emotional / cognitive changes.
Multiple sclerosis requires a multi-discipline approach with medical and rehabilitation management. The goal of helping MS is to decrease the severity of symptoms, make adaptive changes physically and in lifestyle to cope with the progression of the disease. Fatigue management and temperature management are critical components of managing MS.
How therapy helps
The rehabilitation process is critical to those suffering with MS. Physical therapy helps to address weakness, range of motion loss, balance issues, transfers and walking. Physical therapy can help significantly in improving function and independence in a person with MS. In addition, our physical therapists can help you with improving walking, balance and safety with daily movements. Furthermore, as needs change, we are with you every step of the way to teach you how to use assistive equipment such as canes and other devices.