1.Neurological physical therapy is a discipline focused on working with individuals who have a neurological disorder or disease. These include Alzheimer's disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury and stroke. Common problems of patients with neurological disorders include paralysis, vision impairment, poor balance, inability to ambulate or loss of functional independence. Therapists work with patients to improve these areas of dysfunction.
2.The brain and spinal cord control movements and sensations. Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can cause death of the cells that control certain movements and sensations, and therefore one might lose certain brain or spinal cord functions. Following the injury there is a certain amount of time when the cells that are not injured in the brain and spinal cord can learn to control the missing functions. Without physical therapy following a neurological injury, patients may lose many functions and abilities to perform certain activities. Decreased activity leads to many other health problems such as heart and lung diseases, diabetes, decreased independence and an overall poor quality of life.
3.Physical therapists that specialize in neurology work with a broad range of conditions in both adults and children that include:
Spinal cord injury
Brain injury that results from trauma or conditions such as stroke or tumors
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Polyneuropathies such a Guillian-Barre syndrome or chronic inflammatory polyneuropathy
Vestibular disorders such as BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), acoustic neuroma or other conditions that cause dizziness and loss of balance
Pediatric conditions such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy
4.A neurologic physical therapist can help neurology patients if they have any of the following complaints:
Imbalance which might cause falls.
Difficulty in walking or moving around in your daily life.
Changes in your ability to do the things that you enjoy in your life like recreational activities or outings with your family.
If you are not able to walk 6 minutes without having to stop to rest.
If you need more help than you did before to go through your daily activities.
If you have a brace or wheelchair that is in disorder and needs to be reevaluated.
5.One of the most dangerous neurological disorders is the Alzheimerís disease which can result in premature death. This disease particularly affects elderly people, but might also occur in young adults.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is another neurological disease which reduces the motion abilities of the spine. However, physiotherapy has proven to be helpful when treating both these disorders.
Parkinsonís disease can result in the loss of coordination and creates problems in walking. Again, physiotherapy can bring some relief to such patients.
6.Neurological disorders, which come under the category of autoimmune diseases, are extremely hard to cure. One such disease is Myasthenia Gravis which causes weakness of the muscles due to bad communication between the muscles and nerves. In order to treat this type of neurological disorder extensive physical therapy is required. Some of the physical therapy methods for this disorder are strengthening training. However, excessive exercising might aggravate the manifestations of the Myasthenia Gravis disease instead of bringing alleviation to the patients.
7.Generally the people suffering from neurological disorders are unable to perform their daily activities like personal grooming and work obligations. They might experience difficulties in walking, standing and climbing stairs. Even eating, swallowing and breathing can be complicated for these patients. These complications can cause dizziness and poor balance. These conditions necessitate physical therapy, which provides solutions that the other branches of medicine fail to offer.
8.As in all other methods of physiotherapy, exercising also helps in treating neurological disorders. Aerobic exercises are of great importance for patients suffering from various neurological disorders. Physical therapists should elaborate a rehabilitation programme, which involves aerobics. The programme should include balance training as well as coordination training. By practicing these skills the patient will be able to perform aerobic exercises more effectively. For some patients water exercises are also recommended.
Physical therapists are very knowledgeable about human movements and can teach patients how to move correctly again. A physiotherapist often behaves like a psychoanalyst who can replace the patientís despair with hope. Thus many patients can learn to live independently again, which makes them happier and more accomplished.