This area of physiotherapy is concerned with assisting and promoting physical recovery after neurological events and conditions. Under this heading, the types of conditions that we are asked to assess and treat are stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, polyneuropathies (such as Diabetic Neuropathy and Guillain-Barré Syndrome), peripheral nerve injuries (acquired due to trauma or due to obstetric injury as in Erb’s Palsy), Cerebral Palsy (and motor learning disorders), balance impairments and vertigo.
Neurological physiotherapy adopts a problem-based and individual approach as determined by a thorough assessment. Therefore, the treatment objectives for one person recovering from a stroke can be very different from another patient with a similar condition. However, most treatment approaches to neurological rehabilitation would incorporate a number of key elements, namely;
The promotion of normal movement
The control of abnormal muscle tone
The facilitation of function
The optimisation of compensation
These are accomplished by techniques including the neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT) or Bobath concept, the motor relearning programme, biomechanical analysis, balance and coordination rehabilitation and strength training, amongst others. In addition, we have even more specialised treatment techniques for certain conditions. For example, for the treatment of Facial Palsy, electrical stimulation devices may be recommended and for vertigo, by means of vestibular rehabilitation, very specific exercises may be prescribed.