A Neurological Physiotherapist is a therapist who specialises in treating patients who have suffered an injury or disease affecting their central nervous system (CNS).
These can include: stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, head injuries, Parkinson’s Disease, spinal injuries and other less well known conditions such as: Peripheral Neuropathy and Cerebellar Degeneration. It is a long list and many of the conditions will affect the way and the ease with which people can move and balance.
Certain conditions may affect the stiffness of the muscles and sufferers can even experience unwanted activity in their bodies such as spasms. Many people will feel that areas of their bodies do not have enough activity and feel moving against gravity extremely difficult.
Pain, which is a very common feature, may be due to hypersensitive skin and joints, or misaligned body parts, or the pain of learning to accept a disability. The symptoms are not just confined to those of an obvious physical nature. They may also affect a person’s speech, ability to swallow and their ability to understand and process information.
A neurological condition can be signalled by any number of symptoms from a huge range and each set of symptoms is unique to each individual. It is the job of the Neurological Physiotherapist to assess that individual’s problem and then to use their skills and their knowledge of tone, joints and movement to help the patient move with more efficiency and ease. The aim is always to allow them to function better and enjoy life more.
The Neurophysiotherapist also has a vital role in focusing the patient and through listening and talking, helping them come to terms with their disability.
Clearly, a Neurophysiotherapist cannot be expert in all areas and will liaise and refer onto other professionals such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and clinical psychologists when the need arises.