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Physiotherapy (neurological)

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Neurological physiotherapy is a type of physiotherapy that specialises in the treatment and management of people over 18 years of age who have a neurological condition resulting from damage to their brain, spinal cord, muscles or nerves.

What condition can we help?

  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • neuropathies like Guillian Barre syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • old stroke (CVA)
  • old head injury
  • spinal cord injury or spinal conditions
  • Charcot Marie Tooth
  • muscular dystrophy
  • adult cerebral palsy
  • Bell’s palsy (facial palsy)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Motor neurone disease
  • other neurological conditions

Neurological disease or injury can affect many aspects of a person’s body and life including:

  • memory
  • concentration & information processing
  • ability to plan and carry out daily tasks
  • sensation: pins and needles, pain, numbness or reduced sensation
  • joint position and movement sensation
  • perception of your body and the environment around you
  • vision
  • communication
  • weakness and co-ordination
  • spasticity and spasms
  • balance and walking ability
  • fatigue

How do I access this service?

You can be referred to the service by your GP, consultant, specialist nurse or other health care professional.

Find our service referral form >

What does an assessment involve?

Depending upon the symptoms you present with, your assessment will involve the neurological physiotherapist looking at any of the following:

  • cognition and perception
  • vision
  • muscle tightness
  • joint stiffness
  • muscle strength
  • altered sensation including pain
  • proprioception (joint position and movement)
  • co-ordination
  • posture and balance
  • walking and other functional movements

You will benefit from wearing loose comfortable clothes or bringing shorts or a vest top if you know the physiotherapist may need to look at the affected area, e.g. your knee or shoulder joint.

Your assessment may take up to one hour. This is usually made up by some time asking questions about your diagnosis, symptoms you have, taking a short medical history (so please bring a list of your current medication) and discussing what your expectations of physiotherapy are before looking at the areas identified above.

What will happen after the assessment?

Following your assessment the neurological physiotherapist will discuss their findings with you, appropriate goals and a treatment plan will be set. A follow up appointment will be booked as appropriate.

What will treatment include?

Depending on your individual needs, treatment may include:-

  • advice, education and promotion of self-management
  • hands-on neurological physiotherapy treatment, e.g. soft tissue release/ joint mobilisations and facilitation of normal movement patterns
  • strengthening programme
  • coordination exercises
  • postural awareness and retraining
  • balance work
  • spasticity management
  • sensory retraining
  • pain management
  • functional task retraining including walking
  • teaching your carers techniques for moving or positioning.
  • group exercise therapy for MS and Parkinson’s patients

How does neurological physiotherapy work?

Physiotherapy works differently for each individual and lots of things can affect how well it works, such as:

  • where your nervous system is damaged
  • how much your nervous system is damaged
  • what other medical problems you have
  • what medication you are on
  • your fitness and activity levels before your neurological problem
  • family and carer support
  • your understanding and motivation

How can I help myself?

Read information about your condition (there are support and information groups for many conditions - see the links below)

Find our self help page >

If given a home exercise programme, continue with it long term to help maintain/improve your physical abilities.

Where can I find useful information?

The Stroke Association
0845 3033 100 www.stroke.org.uk

Multiple Sclerosis Society
0808 800 8000 www.mssociety.org.uk

Headway - The Brain Injury Association
0808 800 2244 www.headway.org.uk

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
0800 652 6352 www.muscular-dystrophy.org

Parkinson’s Disease Society
0800 800 0303 www.parkinsons.org.uk

Motor Neurone Disease Association
08457 626262 www.mndassociation.org

Guillan-Barre Syndrome
0800 374 803 www.gbs.org.uk

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