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Neurological problems

Neurological problems stem from a wide range of conditions relating to defects in the function of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Neurological problems may manifest themselves in difficulty in walking, abnormal muscle tone, poor co-ordination, decreased sensation, perceptual problems, muscle weakness and a host of other symptoms, depending on the nature and scope of the problem. Some conditions which may result in neurological problems are cerebrovascular disease, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease to name a few. This article looks at a few of these problems that are addressed by physiotherapy.

Cerebrovascular accident (commonly called stroke) is one of the reasons that many people end up in the emergency room and ultimately in a physiotherapy clinic. Loss of fine and gross motor function, increased muscle tone (excessive tightness) and hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body) are the major problems a stroke patient may bring to the clinic. The goals of physiotherapy will be to help the individual return to his prior level of function as far as possible. Therapy will involve a thorough examination to determine the extent of the illness and formulate a treatment plan. The person's occupation and goals for post recovery will be considered. Physiotherapy treatment for stroke patients involves a stretching and strengthening exercise programme, gait re-training where necessary and a rehabilitation regimen to improve co-ordination and motor control. Massage and joint mobilisation are effective means of relieving pain caused by stroke.

Neurological problems are also seen with spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries may result from motor vehicle accidents, falls and sports accidents. Physiotherapy is an essential part of the rehabilitation programme following a spinal cord injury. Through joint mobilisation, passive stretching, muscle strengthening exercises, balance and co-ordination exercises as well as other forms of motor control retraining, we help the spinal cord injury patient regain as much function as possible.

Inco-ordination and unsteady gait are often seen in people suffering from cerebral palsy. Physiotherapy can help by having cerebral palsy patients fitted with appropriate orthoses if needed. A programme of strengthening exercises, motor control rehabilitation and gait re-education will help reduce in co-ordination and promote safety with walking.

If you have a neurological condition that is causing you to have physical problems, come and see us for advice and an exercise treatment plan.


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