The Quality Of Life For Stroke Patients Can Be Improved With Physiotherapy

BC physiotherapists share 4 tips for patients with neurological conditions

British Columbians suffering from a neurologic disease can have difficulty moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing or learning. There are more than 600 types of neurologic diseases, the most frequent of which are stroke, brain/spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease. Working in partnership with a physiotherapist to address physical function issues, neurological patients can improve their mobility and improve their quality life. BC’s physiotherapists want to share their Physio-4 for neurological conditions, 4 tips on how patients can maximize their physical function.

“If you are suffering from a neurological disease your physiotherapist can help to maximize and restore your physical function,” says Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC. “Among the things he/she can do is to work with you to create a personalized exercise program that includes a balance component to maximize your physical function. Additionally, physiotherapists can provide education about the specifics of the brain and how it relates to your care.”

By working with a physiotherapist and following the Physio-4 for Neurological Conditions, neurological patients can improve their quality of life.

1. Teach your weak side.  If you have weakness in the muscles on one side of your body (due to stroke) or face (facial palsy), use the unaffected side to teach the weak side how it should feel and move.  Your physiotherapist can provide exercises to stretch and relax muscles to decrease tightness, strengthen the weak side, and share ways to avoid overcompensating with the unaffected side.

2. Get dizzy.  If you have problems with dizziness and balance (eg. vestibular), making you a bit dizzy can be part of the treatment.  Keep moving, realizing that the movement will help you get better.  Avoid keeping your head still.  Your physiotherapist will show you how.

3. Build strength.  Many people with neurological conditions lack strength and endurance, which can also affect balance. A physiotherapist can create an individualized exercise program that can be done in the home or at a community centre that include these components, as well as walking aids to ensure safety indoors and out.  Your physiotherapist can also recommend cardiovascular training (like using an exercise bike) for optimal heart health.

4. Practice repetitive sensory input.  For a patient with a neurological condition (eg. Parkinson’s), it is important to have repetitive sensory input to “remind” the brain about movement pathways.  An example of this type of exercise would be doing repetitive step-ups on an aerobic step.  This helps the brain to remember to lift the heel to clear the floor while walking.  Your physiotherapist will help you engage in safe activity to promote neurological recovery and your confidence.

 

The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. Each month, on movingforlife.ca 4 tips are provided to treat specific health or physical conditions that will help keep British Columbians moving for life. BC’s physiotherapists want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, they are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most.

To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca.

 

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