A neurological physical therapist is one who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of individuals with movement difficulties due to an injury or disease of the nervous system. A neurologic clinical specialist (NCS) is a physical therapist who has advanced training in neurological therapy. These specialists develop a plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques to help restore function and help you move better with a neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke. Neurological conditions are challenging and having a team of these specialists on your side is very beneficial. Studies have shown that physical therapy is very beneficial to those who suffer from neurological conditions.
Neuro Therapy and Physical Therapy
Neuro therapy is a non-invasive treatment that allows individuals to gain information about their brain activity and learn how to change it. Brainwave activity is measured with an EEG, and “brain maps” are created. Physical therapists work closely with those who specialize in neurological therapy. Without physical therapy following a neurological injury, patients may be unable to perform certain activities, lose function and lose their independence. Physical therapists who specialize in neurology work with a wide range of patients who may have the following conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s nerve cells. It’s a progressive disease. The disease causes slurred speech, severe tremors and irregular facial expressions. Physical therapy has been shown to help those with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It improves flexibility and strength. As a matter of fact, physical therapy is now an essential part of many treatment plans. Your physical therapist can help address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as gait, freezing and dystonia.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in adults. Your physical therapist is part of the stroke rehabilitation team and will develop an individualized plan for the best outcome. Your physical therapist can help you improve walking and balance, train you on how to use assistive devices and provide training for your caregivers. Therapy typically includes constraint-induced movement therapy, functional electrical stimulation, motor image, partial body weight support and neuro therapy like biofeedback. Biofeedback is a type of neurological therapy that helps you be aware of how your muscles work and how you can change things. The physical therapist will attach electrodes to your skin, so you can see measurements of muscle activity on a screen. The goal of your physical therapist is to help you regain functional skills after a stroke, so you can get back to your life.
With multiple sclerosis, it’s likely that you’ll be feeling weakness, fatigue and pain. Physical therapy can help you manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. A physical therapist will help you with stretches to ease muscle spasms, exercises to keep muscles strong and specific range-of-motion exercises for movement. With physical therapy, you can improve balance problems and trouble moving your body. You’ll also be given expert instruction on how to use assistive devices, such as a cane or wheelchair. A physical therapist can help you through all the stages of multiple sclerosis.