What is Neurological Rehabilitation?
Neurological rehabilitation occurs under the supervision of a doctor, or a team of doctors, and is designed to improve the well-being of a patient by reducing the symptoms of a disease, injury, or disorder of the nervous system.
Some conditions that may benefit from neurological rehabilitation include:
- Degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis.
- Neuromuscular disorders like Bell’s palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular dystrophy, or myasthenia gravis.
- Vascular disorders like ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes.
- Infections like meningitis, encephalitis, or polio.
- Functional disorders, including migraine, dizziness, or seizures.
- Brain and spinal cord injuries related to trauma.
Not all patients entering into a neurological rehabilitation program have a diagnosis. Some symptoms that may warrant the need for neurological rehabilitation include:
- Difficulty speaking, walking, swallowing, eating, dressing, or bathing.
- Muscle weakness or pain, abnormal muscle tone.
- Impairments in thinking, memory, vision, or eye-hand coordination.
The goal of a neurological rehabilitation program is to help the patient achieve the highest level of independence possible. To help a patient improve their quality of life, a neurological rehabilitation program may include some of the following:
- Assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, cooking, and other daily activities.
- Therapy to improve cognition, including concentration, attention, memory, and speech.
- Anxiety and depression counseling, emotional support.
- Pain management.
- Exercises to improve mobility, muscle control, gait, range of motion.
- Community support groups, retraining of social skills.
Often, a neurological rehabilitation program is comprised of a team of professionals working together to help a patient return to the highest level of functioning possible. Each professional provides different treatments to help the patient find relief from their symptoms. A rehabilitation team may include some of the following professionals:
- Physical therapists help patients regain mobility and allow them to perform physical tasks as much as possible.
- Occupational therapists help patients regain independence by doing as much as they can on their own.
- Speech-language pathologists help patients with language, speaking, and swallowing.
- Neuropsychologists help patients adjust to their new skill levels, and provide therapy and stress management techniques.