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What Is Neurological Physiotherapy?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Neurological physiotherapy addresses physical problems caused by serious nervous system-related medical conditions like stroke and cerebral palsy. Particular emphasis is placed on fostering normal motor functioning or restoring impaired functioning. Issues like pain, numbness or paralysis, and muscle stiffness or deterioration are considered when developing treatment protocols, as are the patients’ neurological setbacks. A combination of muscular relaxation and stimulation serves as the foundation for many neurological physiotherapy approaches.

Physiotherapy, often called physical therapy, may be categorized by the particular illnesses or conditions that cause the disabilities. In general, the main types of physiotherapy include cardiothoracic, musculoskeletal, and neurological. The first type primarily deals with problems caused by heart or lung issues like asthma or any chest surgeries. Musculoskeletal conditions, on the other hand, address traumas and inflammatory conditions afflicting the bones and muscles. Many physical disabilities, however, have roots in brain or other nervous system dysfunctions, and these disabilities are the domain of neurological physiotherapy.

Employees working in neurological physiotherapy must evaluate a number of factors before planning a treatment program. For one, the patient’s muscle tone must be determined. Lax muscles often require active rehabilitation, while stiff muscles might benefit from some massage or other relaxation-based techniques.

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Other physical issues like balance are important, as are the cognitive difficulties presented by neurological conditions. The effectiveness of physical therapy exercise equipment should be evaluated, as should the potentials and drawbacks of electrical stimulation techniques. In addition, the physiotherapist might introduce elements of occupational therapy by tailoring treatment protocols around common activities in the patient’s everyday life.

Rehabilitation programs for neurological physiotherapy often focus on working the afflicted muscles in range-of-motion and strength exercises. The physiotherapist might assist the patient in moving body parts in deliberate manners. With this assistance, the patient carries out normal everyday motions. Over time, the patient’s muscles strengthen and the brain becomes re-acclimated to the movements. In successful treatments, the patient slowly regains independence over body motion.

The benefits of neurological physiotherapy are evident on both a physical level and a psychological level. Inactivity can facilitate muscle atrophy on a physical level. Muscular tissue stands a much greater chance of recovery if it remains active. On a deeper mental and emotional level, normative motor functioning instills individuals with invaluable independence, optimism, and perhaps higher self-esteem.

Neurological deficits are so inhibiting and chronic because they do not cause visible physical damage in many cases. Rather, the complex chemical and electrical conversations that guide so much of human movement and human life are slowed or even halted. Increasing evidence points to the ability of the brain to come back from a neurological deficiency or abnormality, however. Through habituation and persistence, individuals may very likely set and solidify new neural pathways so new conversations can begin.

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