Neurological rehabilitation is a team-based approach to treating injuries and conditions that affect the nervous system. The first step in this process is setting strategic goals. These goals will help to establish what can realistically be achieved through neurological rehabilitation.
What is Neurological Rehabilitation?
In neurological rehabilitation, doctors use physical therapy to help patients with diseases, injuries or health events related to the nervous system improve function and reduce symptoms. These treatments can also improve the patient’s overall quality of life. The first step is to evaluate the injury or disease with specialized tests to determine its severity. Then, a treatment plan is created, and goals are set.
Throughout the recovery process, doctors will provide care and monitor progress. Some patients may need to stay in a long-term care facility or nursing home. Others can return to their homes with home health services or be cared for in the community. There is growing evidence that people with neurological disabilities benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation. These programs include specialist physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech & language pathologists. They also incorporate the latest technical treatment options, such as constraint therapy for motor and cognitive recovery, prism adaptation training and noninvasive magnetic and electrical brain stimulation.
Why is Neurological Rehabilitation Important?
Studies have shown that neurological rehabilitation significantly improves a patient’s ability to move, reduce pain and symptoms and enhance their quality of life. This is particularly important, as patients not treated with rehabilitation are likelier to experience poorer outcomes and decreased health. In addition, the rehabilitation process helps to improve the person’s independence and confidence in their physical abilities. This is crucial for people with disabilities that could affect their interactions with others, such as right hemiplegics who cannot drive or use their arms.
For instance, Colorado Integrated Neurology emphasizes that the neurological rehabilitation program provides comprehensive care from highly-trained physical therapists, occupational therapists, physiatrists, neuropsychologists and speech-language pathologists working together to treat the entire individual. Taking a holistic approach to treatment, this team of experts will help the patient achieve their personal goals and optimal recovery.
What are the Benefits of Neurological Rehabilitation?
Serious injuries and conditions affecting the nervous system can take away much of your independence, but you can regain those abilities with the right team. Neurological rehabilitation, also known as neuro-rehab, is an ongoing treatment that can help minimize the impact of your condition and disease and elevate your quality of life.
Neurological rehabilitation is based on the principle of neuroplasticity, which means that your brain can change with every impression and experience. This ability to adjust and adapt is what makes rehabilitation so successful.
Rehabilitation can include:
- A variety of treatments, including physical therapy for balance, range of motion, strength, posture, and mobility.
- Occupational therapy helps with daily living skills like eating, bathing, and dressing.
- Speech therapy to improve communication abilities.
- Cognitive treatments.
- Assistance with the reintegration of assistive devices like wheelchairs and walkers.
All of these activities help you regain the independence that was taken away by your illness or injury.
How Can Neurological Rehabilitation Help Me?
Serious injuries and illnesses that impact the nervous system can cause you to lose independence. Fortunately, you can work with your care team to improve your condition and regain some of your lost functions.
Treatment options will include a comprehensive assessment that uses specific tests to determine how your nervous system function has been affected. Your assessment results can help your care team create a unique rehabilitation program to meet your needs.
Neurological rehabilitation treatment can consist of many therapies, including physical therapy, to address issues like muscle control, spasticity management, range of motion, balance and coordination, and mobility improvements. Other therapies may include:
- Speech and language therapy.
- Cognitive improvement activities.
- Nutritional support.
- A pain management plan.
This treatment typically does not require overnight stays at a hospital and is often more flexible than other forms of rehabilitation.