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Neurological Physiotherapy

Can Neurological Physiotherapy Make a Difference for Multiple Sclerosis Patients?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a long-term chronic condition that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It happens when the immune system wrongly targets the protective covering around nerve fibres, affecting the brain and spinal cord. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s a mix of genetics and environmental factors. However, there is hope. Let’s explore how neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton can empower and transform the lives of MS patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

Neurological Physiotherapy Techniques for Multiple Sclerosis Management

Have you heard how neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton offers specialized guidance for managing Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? Here are some critical techniques used:

1. Exercise Programs

Regarding exercise in neurological physiotherapy for MS, it’s all about tailoring workouts to tackle muscle weakness. Here’s what they typically involve, and here are some of the potential techniques you can expect:

Strength Training: 

We focus on specific muscle groups to build strength and endurance, mainly targeting the muscles weakened by MS to improve physical function, including:

  • Leg Muscles: Exercises such as leg presses, squats, and leg lifts to strengthen muscles in the thighs, calves, and hips, essential for walking and standing.
  • Arm Muscles: Activities like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and push-ups to enhance the strength of the upper arms are essential for lifting.
  • Core Muscles: Workouts involving planks, abdominal crunches, and lower back extensions to build the core muscles, including the abdomen, lower back, pelvis, and hips, are vital for stability and overall mobility.

Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis:

ROM exercises involve gentle stretches and movements to improve muscle flexibility and prevent tightness. Here are a few examples:

  • Hamstring Stretch: Targets the back thigh muscles. Extend one leg while sitting or standing, and reach toward your toes to maintain hamstring flexibility and reduce stiffness in MS patients.
  • Triceps Stretch: This stretch focuses on upper arm muscles. Raise one arm overhead, bend the elbow, and gently push it with the opposite hand to maintain the triceps flexibility essential for daily activities.

Stretching and Positioning: 

Regular, gentle stretching and proper positioning help maintain muscle flexibility and prevent stiffness in MS patients. Here are some techniques:

  • Ergonomic Chair: Supports adequate posture and reduces muscle strain.
  • Lumbar Support: Maintains the lower back’s natural curve to reduce stiffness.
  • Contract-Relax Stretch: Involves contracting a muscle before stretching to enhance flexibility.

2. Balance and Coordination Training

Enhancing balance and coordination is crucial in multiple sclerosis (MS) physiotherapy. Our physiotherapists employ effective strategies to improve these skills:

Balance Exercises: 

Here’s how our physiotherapists approach these exercises:

  • Tools Used: We use specialized equipment like Balance Boards and Stability Balls to improve your balance. These tools create varying levels of instability, forcing your body to engage core muscles and enhance balance responses.
  • Single-Leg Stance Exercise: The exercise involves standing on one leg to improve stability and control. It strengthens leg muscles, enhances proprioception (awareness of body position), and builds confidence in weight-bearing activities.

Coordination Drills: 

Multiple sclerosis affects coordination in individuals with MS. The exercises typically involve:

  • Ball Tossing: Tossing a ball back and forth improves hand-eye coordination and reaction time, enhancing fine motor control.
  • Target Practice: Aim and hit specific targets, like throwing a ball, to improve precision, accuracy, and spatial awareness.

3. Gait Training

Many MS patients face gait issues such as weakness, stiffness, or feeling off-balance, which impact walking. Gait training includes:

  • Walking Practice: We use equipment like parallel bars, walkers, or canes to enhance your stride, with our team offering continuous guidance.
  • Technique Improvement: Correcting walking patterns and learning energy-saving techniques, such as reducing excessive arm swings, avoiding overstriding, and maintaining a steady pace, are particularly beneficial for those with Multiple Sclerosis.

4 . Task-Oriented Training 

In multiple sclerosis physiotherapy, task-oriented training involves practicing specific daily tasks to enhance functional abilities and independence. 

Functional Task Practice: Our therapy sessions involve practicing tasks like walking on different surfaces (e.g., carpet, tile, grass), varying speeds and distances, getting up from a chair, or maneuvering through obstacles to improve balance relevant to daily life. 

5. Vestibular Rehabilitation

Addressing balance and dizziness issues is crucial in the context of multiple sclerosis. Vestibular rehabilitation focuses on techniques that help to manage various aspects of MS. 

Habituation Exercises:

The exercises help the brain and vestibular system adapt to movements that typically provoke dizziness. Examples include:

  • Sit-to-stand exercises: Quick movements between sitting and standing aid in desensitizing the vestibular system to positional changes.
  • Turning around in a circle: Gradually increasing the speed and frequency of turning can help reduce sensitivity to rotational movements that induce dizziness.
  • Lying down and getting up: This exercise involves controlled movements from lying down to standing up, which helps improve tolerance to changes in head position.

Vestibular Adaptation Exercises

Neurological damage caused by multiple sclerosis can lead to issues related to balance and vestibular function. They can be tackled through vestibular adaptation exercises. It involves:

  • Head movements: Controlled head movements in various directions (up and down, side to side) to encourage the vestibular system to adjust and recalibrate to different head positions.
  • Walking with head turns: Walking while turning the head from side to side helps improve coordination between visual input and vestibular signals, enhancing balance and reducing dizziness during head movement activities.

6. Cognitive Rehabilitation

MS can affect your memory and attention, but we have effective strategies at Turning Point Physical Therapy to help you overcome these challenges.

Cognitive Exercises

Our therapists use a variety of cognitive exercises and techniques to improve cognitive symptoms. Examples include:

  • Memory exercises: Strategies to enhance memory recall, such as mnemonics, repetition, and organization techniques.
  • Attention exercises: Activities to improve focus and concentration, such as attention training tasks and mindfulness exercises.
  • Problem-solving exercises: Practice activities that involve identifying problems, generating solutions, and making decisions.

What Can Multiple Sclerosis Patients Expect From Neurological Physiotherapy?

  • Improving Mobility and Balance: Enhancing ease of stability to reduce the risk of falls.
  • Boosting Strength and Flexibility: Address muscle weakness and stiffness to increase strength and flexibility in daily activities.
  • Managing Fatigue: Teaching energy conservation techniques to better cope with tiredness.
  • Reducing Pain: Using tailored plans to alleviate discomfort and improve daily comfort significantly.

Our Collaborative Approach to Multiple Sclerosis

At Turning Point, we’re all about enhancing the lives of those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) through neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton. Our specialized approach can significantly improve your quality of life. 

Contact our dedicated team to achieve your goals and improve your well-being. Stay tuned to our blog for MS management tips and updates on neurological rehabilitation. Together, we can make a difference in your MS journey.

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