Neurological disorders affect the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and/or peripheral nerves. These conditions can impede speech, movement, learning, and even vital functions such as breathing and swallowing. They may also impact a person’s mood, senses, and memory. For individuals with these types of conditions, physical therapy (PT) can be a powerful component in a robust and individualized treatment plan.
While there is no cure for conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, treating the symptoms associated with these conditions can aid promote functionality, pain management, and overall quality of life. Here, we take a closer look at the role of physical therapy (PT) plays in the managing neurological disorders.
PT can be used to proactively minimize symptoms and slow their progression. Neurological physical therapy can reduce motor defects that impair nerve cell functionality through specific exercises. Before a patient experiences motor loss, physical therapy may help an individual stay fit and mobile.
Once symptoms do occur, the focus of PT shifts to helping a person relearn motor skills. Advanced neurological therapy may include balance and exercise activities, compensatory strategies to perform daily tasks, use of therapy equipment such as splints or braces, and gait training with the use of assistive devices. Therapy for speech, language and swallowing can also be provided as needed.
Preserve Skills & Abilities
After individuals with neurological conditions have regained skills or developed adaptive means, they can attend PT on an ongoing basis to preserve their abilities. PT programs can assist neuroadaptive and neuroprotective processes to support independence and social participation for patients even after symptoms have begun to impact their lives. In combination with other treatments such as medications and alternate forms of therapy, PT support an optimal quality of life for people with neurological disorders.