A neurological physical therapist is a PT who specializes in the treatment of patients who suffer from movement difficulties, either due to an injury or ailment surrounding the nervous system. A neurologic clinical specialist (NCS), while similar, is a bit different. An NCS is a PT who has obtained extensive training in the field of neurological therapy and oftentimes works exclusively with that specialization.
Whether you see a neurological physical therapist or NCS, you can find comfort in the fact that you will be receiving treatment from experts in the field. These specialists will assess your situation in order to develop the best plan of care for your needs. The goal of physical therapy for neurological disorders is to restore as much function as possible, in order to help you regain independence and move freely.
Combining Neurological Therapy with Physical Therapy:
Neurological therapy is a non-invasive treatment method that analyzes brain activity in order to determine how it can be changed to help improve your function. With neuro therapy, an EEG is used to measure brain activity and create “brain maps.” Physical therapists and neurological therapists work closely together in order to create the best treatment plan possible for each patient.
Neurological therapy helps determine the areas that need work, while physical therapy helps carry out those tasks. By participating in physical therapy treatments following a neurological injury, you can improve your function, perform targeted activities, and regain your independence much faster. PTs specializing in neurology work with patients who have a wide range of neurological disorders, including, but not limited to:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most progressive neurological disorders that affects the nerve cells in the brain. Common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include slurred speech, irregular facial expressions, and severe tremors. Fortunately, physical therapy can help slow the progress of Parkinson’s and provide relief for symptoms. Physical therapy helps to improve flexibility and strength by addressing several issues that Parkinson’s disease may cause, including abnormal gait, freezing, and dystonia.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in adults. Physical therapy can help relieve the effects of a stroke by working to improve balance, walking, and the use of assistive devices. Common therapies for post-stroke rehabilitation include constraint-induced movement therapy, functional electrical stimulation, motor image, partial body weight support, and neuro therapy techniques, such as biofeedback. Biofeedback is a type of neurological therapy that helps improve awareness of muscle function and how it may need to be changed. This is done by attaching electrodes to the skin in order to measure muscle activity on a screen. After a stroke, our physical therapist can help you regain your functional skills so you can get back to living your life independently.
Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include pain, fatigue, and weakness. Fortunately, physical therapy can help manage and decrease these symptoms. Our physical therapist will provide you with targeted stretches to ease muscle spasms and targeted exercises to increase strength and range of motion. You will also work on activities to help with balance and movement, in addition to being provided with information on the correct use of assistive devices.
ALS, medically referred to as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive, neurological disease. It typically develops in the hand, feet, and extremities before progressing to the central part of the body. Those who develop ALS typically begin by noticing a challenge with walking, as they may frequently trip or lose their balance. It is also common to notice frequent muscle cramps or weakness in the hands or legs. As ALS progresses throughout the body, it can affect the way in which someone walks, uses their extremities, speaks, swallows, and even breathes.
There is, unfortunately, no cure for ALS, but the goal of our rehabilitative team is to help maintain function and independence for as long as possible. We also focus on preventing secondary complications (such as fall-related injuries) by providing information for safety and adaptation when using assistive devices. As the disease progresses, our physical therapists can recommend adaptive equipment, such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, braces, and other devices.
Contact us today:
At Cornerstone Physical Therapy, our physical therapists work closely with neurological experts to provide the best treatment possible for our patients who suffer from neurological disorders. If you are suffering from a neurological condition that is limiting you from living the life you want to live, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can schedule a consultation for you to meet with one of our dedicated physical therapists and find out how we can best manage your symptoms and help you reach your physical goals. Don’t suffer in silence – find relief today.