For a long time, scientists believed that the adult brain was a fixed structure and that it couldn’t change much over time. This was why there was a belief that recovery could only happen during the period immediately after a stroke. However, the amazing developments in neuroscience over the past few years have shown that the brain is a much more flexible and responsive structure than we previously believed.
The brain’s neuroplasticity means both that previously unused circuits (synapses in neuroscientific terminology) can be brought into use and that new connections can be formed within the brain. This explains how the brain can re-organise itself to recover at least some of the movement abilities that are lost after a stroke. However, this re-organisation doesn’t happen by magic.
Neurological physiotherapy works by specifically targeting stimulation of the brain through moving and activating limbs and muscles. This directed movement stimulates the brain to re-organise itself in the most efficient and functional way. The role of a neurological physiotherapist is not just to treat you but also to provide support and encouragement when you are feeling disheartened – and to help keep you focused on your long-term goals.
After having a stroke, every person changes their movement in different and sometimes subtle ways because of ongoing challenges, which are completely individual. Often a period of illness, or a spell of bad weather can mean that a person is less active and mobile than they have been. Confidence in moving around and getting about can be knocked in many ways. Neurological physiotherapists work with you to get you as mobile, strong and confident as possible. Moving can be effortful and people very often comment that, with treatment they feel looser and they can move more freely and confidently.
At heads up! we treat everyone as an individual, working with our patients to create tailored physiotherapy stroke treatment programmes. We are also here for continual, support, advice, information and encouragement.
Find out more about stroke neurological physiotherapy with heads up!