If you suffer from a neurological condition, you will be pleased to know that there are several effective treatments available to you; however, one of the absolute best is physical therapy. Professionals that specialize in physical therapy for neurological conditions provide customized, one-on-one treatments that place an emphasis on restoring function to the body and optimizing the quality of life that their patients experience.

woman with physical therapist

What is Neurological Physical Therapy?

Neurological physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that aims to restore a patient’s level of functional mobility, improve their strength, and optimize their balance and level of coordination. Its primary focus is to aid those with neurological conditions in moving freely and improving the quality of their day-to-day lives. This form of physical therapy is beneficial in both recovering from neurological conditions and preventing the progression of the condition experienced.

What Conditions Do Neurological Physical Therapists Treat?

Neurological physical therapists treat patients that are experiencing issues and/or conditions involving the brain, the spinal cord, and the nervous system.

These conditions include traumatic injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

The goal is to increase the overall functionality and comfort of the patient. If you are suffering from a brain condition, a spinal cord issue, or even issues with your nervous system, you are a good candidate for neurological physical therapy.

How Does the Process Work?

If you are in need of neurological physical therapy, you will receive your treatment on an inpatient basis or outpatient basis. If you are required to complete the therapy on an inpatient basis, it will be done at a hospital or a center that specializes in rehabilitation.

If you are a good candidate for outpatient services, these may be performed at a clinic, an outpatient-based rehabilitation center, or even at your home. Your needs will be determined based on the overall severity of the condition in which you suffer.

The process initiates with an evaluation by a licensed physical therapist. During this meeting, the professional will gather information regarding your medical history and a physical examination will be performed. In this examination, the physical therapist will evaluate your overall strength, how coordinated you are, your general range of motion, the muscle tone of the body, and your reflexes.

In addition to the previously mentioned, the physical therapist will also review your attention span, the cognitive abilities that you possess, and your sensations. Your ability to transition from one position to another will be evaluated. The therapist will determine if you are able to transition successfully on your own or if you require assistance. Your balance, the way that you walk, and how you move will be reviewed.

Finally, you may be issued neurological tests. These will aid in examining the level of coordination that you have. Examples of the activities that are often performed during these tests include following various types of objects with your eyes, moving between movements that are alternating, and placing your finger on your nose – usually with your eyes closed.

What Interventions Are Provided with Neurological Physical Therapy?

Neurological physical therapy offers numerous interventions. These include – but are not limited to – the following:

  1. Balance Training – This type of training places a focus on the stationary (static) and moving (dynamic) forms of balance. It aids in helping you sit upright and without support. This is designed to provide a boost to the control of your core. It also helps in standing in the upright position both with and without any kind of support (depending on your individual needs).
  2. Endurance Training – This type of training is usually done with the use of various types of equipment that is known to improve your cardiovascular health. Examples include stationary bicycles and a treadmill.
  3. Gait Training – This type of training is designed to assist you in improving your overall ability to walk. It may also include instructions on how to utilize various types of mobility devices such as canes and walkers.
  4. Therapeutic Activities – This type of training helps in improving your individual level of independence. Examples include improving bed mobility by teaching you how to easily sit up from the lying position and transferring onto items such as chairs and the toilet.
  5. Therapeutic Exercises – This type of training involves the use of various exercises to strengthen the muscles, improve your level of motor control, and optimize your coordination.
  6. Vestibular Therapy – This type of training is perfect for those who experience dizziness and inner ear problems. It improves the overall control of movements associated with the eyes. It also places an emphasis on exercises that improve balance that include various types of head movements.

What Types of Conditions Does Neurological Physical Therapy Treat?

Neurological physical therapy treats a wide range of brain disorders, spinal issues, nerve problems, and neurological conditions. The following outlines the most commonly addressed among therapists:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – Many refer to this as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Essential Tremor
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Polyneuropathies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Vertigo

Why Would Someone Need Neurological Physical Therapy?

If a patient has experienced an accident or has been diagnosed with a neurological condition, physical therapy is highly beneficial in recovery, reducing the progression of the issue, improving strength, optimizing the ability to move, and improving their abilities. The goal is to ensure that each patient experiences the highest level of independence and is able to perform activities of daily living as optimally as possible.

What Does a Physical Therapy Neurological Test Look For?

The neurological test conducted by a physical therapist is designed to evaluate the coordination of various body parts. It also examines the motor control that is occurring between the brain and the muscles of the body.

In short, the result helps the therapist determine if signals that are sent to the brain are successfully reaching the muscles, how quickly that is occurring, and if this ability is functioning in a proper manner.

Do Neurological Physical Therapists Have More Training Than Regular Physical Therapists?

Yes, physical therapists that specialize in neurological conditions typically pursue a certification that allows them to become a neurological clinical specialist or “NCS”, for short. This requires working 2,000 hours with individuals that have a neurological conditions. Once this has been achieved, the specialist will then take a board exam that must be passed.

The physical therapist that you work with may be in training or may have completed this training in order to obtain this certification.

physical therapy classes

Why is Neurological Physical Therapy So Important?

If you are a patient who has a neurological injury or a neurological condition, it is imperative that you participate in neurological physical therapy. This is because of the brain, spinal cord, and associated components of the body aid in controlling both movement and sensation. If cells die in these areas, it could result in the loss of function. If this happens, you may not be able to perform certain activities now and/or in the future. If activity intensity is decreased, other health problems may develop related to the organs and systems of the body. Furthermore, you will suffer from low quality of life.

Contact Us Today

If you have a neurological injury or a neurological condition, we here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy can assist you. Our goal is full recovery, slowing the progression of illnesses, and improving your overall quality of life. We offer many services that are sure to provide a boost to your health and optimize your general well-being.

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