What is neurological physical therapy?
Neurological physiotherapy uses techniques to treat sequelae of central or peripheral nervous system injuries. The aim of the exercises (agreed upon by the patient, family members and physical therapists) is to improve physical abilities and structural and sensory alterations to rehabilitate the ability and efficiency of movements.
When there is damage to the central or peripheral nervous system, there is a rehabilitation period in which new connections are produced, a process called neuroplasticity. Hence the importance of stimulating and guiding the exercises to recover lost movements. The set of these techniques will improve the patient’s daily life and quality of life.
Why is it performed?
It is a therapy that is performed to improve altered functions such as mobility, balance or posture. The main objective is that the patient can return to their daily activities normally and be able to fend for themselves.
The main pathologies treated with neurological physiotherapy are neurovascular accidents, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, craniocerebral trauma, spinal cord injuries, neurodegenerative pathologies and peripheral injuries such as facial paralysis, among others.
In the field of neuropediatrics, developmental disorders, acquired brain damage, infantile cerebral palsy, obstetric brachial palsy and Down syndrome are treated by means of neurological physiotherapy.
Finally, phantom limb pain (amputees), chronic pain, fibromyalgia and postural and back pain can also be treated with this technique.
What does it consist of?
The exercises performed during rehabilitation will differ according to the pathology to be treated and the patient’s situation, although the most common ones are:
- Advice on understanding and managing symptoms
- Balance exercises
- Help with body alignment
- Activities to improve balance and walking
- Exercises to improve function of upper and lower extremities
- Movement control activities
- Fatigue management
- Cardiovascular and strength exercises
- Pain management
- Activities for the management of spasticity, spasms and muscle tension
On the other hand, it is possible that the physiotherapist may consider applying some complementary methods such as Bobath, Vojta, Kabat, Perfetti or Virtual Reality.
Some of the pathologies treated with neurological physiotherapy are stroke and fibriomyalgia, among others.
Preparation for neurological physiotherapy
It is a procedure that does not require specific preparation, since they are exercises that can be performed at home or in the office, as deemed by the specialist. It may be recommended that the patient continue with the activities on their own to speed up the recovery process.
Care after the operation
Similarly, no aftercare is required after the exercises have been performed. As in any physiotherapeutic therapy, the patient may feel some discomfort after performing the activities, although it is part of the process and the improvement of the movement functions that have been affected by the pathology he/she suffers.
Alternatives to this treatment
Depending on the disease suffered by the patient, it is possible that the specialist considers that his recovery should be complemented with other techniques or procedures. Neurological physiotherapy will help with the recovery of motor functions, although in some pathologies such as stroke it is a complementary therapy to the previous treatment that the patient has received.