Life during lockdown is certainly a massive change from our normal life. Maybe you would normally attend an exercise class, go to the gym or for a swim as a way to keep fit and active. It may be that you also have a specific programme of exercises recommended by your physiotherapist to work on at home.
Did you know there are 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK! It’s the most common and disabling neurological disorder in the UK. It affects 1 in 7 people making it more prevalent than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined (www.migrainetrust.org).
But what is migraine, according to Professor Peter Goadsby, professor in neurology at Kings Collect Hospital “Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”
The NHS define Dystonia as ‘the name for uncontrolled and sometimes painful muscle movements (spasms)’ its usually a lifelong problem but treatment, including physiotherapy can help to relieve the symptoms. It can be a really challenging condition to live with and finding the correct treatment can be difficult.
We already know the positive difference that physiotherapy can make to people living with Parkinson’s disease. Regular exercise has long been recognised as a powerful tool to help improve mobility, posture and balance. Research by Lord and colleagues 2013 and Van Nimwegan 2011 indicate that at diagnosis, people with Parkinson’s disease are already 30 percent less active than their non-Parkinson’s age matched peers.
Parkinson’s Disease is thought to affect around 1 in 350 adults, which means there are an estimated 145,000 people in the UK with the condition. It can lead to slowness in movement (bradykinesia), tremor and rigidity. This can cause postural changes, reduced balance and difficulties with mobility.
Since the clinic – heads up! – began 20 years ago we have always focused on quality of movement not just quantity of movement.
We often see people who have just got moving as best they can and have become heavily reliant on walking aids such as three-pronged walking stick or tripod. We work together so they can improve their stability and confidence in walking so that they might be able to use a high pole or walking stick which offers less support but may allow a more symmetrical walking pattern.
We have heard a lot about the crisis affecting the NHS this winter. Professor Karen Middleton, the chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy wrote in The Huffington Post on 13th January 2017, “ It’s clear that the NHS needs a whole-system transformation and that’s what Mr Stevens is looking to achieve with the Five Year Forward View (FYFV).
We often say – ‘let’s go and get a breath of fresh air’ as a way of becoming more alert, less stale and getting ready for another activity.
In these winter months regular deep breathing helps keep us free of coughs and colds and our airways clear. When we don’t move around a lot and become sedentary the respiratory system is not stretched and so we only use a very small proportion of our lung capacity.
If you are not doing as much walking around as you would like to after suffering a stroke or being in hospital then it doesn’t take long for your body to become de-conditioned and your muscles to lose some of their strength.
Any neurological condition such as cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s will affect the ability of muscles to activate strongly and consistently and in a co-ordinated way.
Familiarise yourself with the exercises in the previous blog “getting ready to be active”.
If you have muscle stiffness and reduced movement after a stroke or because of Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy a brain injury or other neurological condition regular small movements will help reduce discomfort from stiffness.
Winter 2016 – 2017
In this series of simple exercises and advice about keeping mobile during the winter months, there are some that people will find easy and also there are some people that will find everything hard.
As we are all different and have individual ways of moving, there is no substitute for the specific advice and individually tailored exercises which are given during a treatment session with one of our clinical specialist neurological physiotherapists at heads up!
Last week I was helping a woman who had a stroke in her twenties and is now in her fifties to her car. She said to me ‘I’m fine walking if it’s level and light Anna, but life’s not like that is it?”
This phrase has stuck in my mind and to me encapsulates the daily struggle some people who are living with disability following stroke face. Getting out and about is often more difficult in the winter months and in our neurological physiotherapy sessions at heads up! we work together to re-gain confidence in standing and walking.
We have worked with many Parkinson’s patients since the practice opened in 1997. Some people come to us a number of years after diagnosis, but many come at the early stages. This is what they have to say about specialist neurological physiotherapy at heads up!:
“It was lovely having the time and space just for me. I felt listened to and my concerns were heard.”
Every patient is an individual, we take the time to assess each patient not only at the first session but also throughout the duration of treatment, and to ensure the programme we develop is right for each patient and their circumstances.
At initial enquiries and consultations we are often asked, what are 5 areas a neurological physiotherapist may work on with people with Parkinson’s:
We must remember that a positive difference can be made to people who have lived with Parkinson’s for a number of years. But the question we are regularly asked is, why early neurology physiotherapy is so important?
1. When presented with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s most people will have questions which they would like to put to a knowledgeable professional experienced in the field.
Three members of the heads up! specialist neurological physiotherapy team attended the recent ACPIN (Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology) two-day conference in London, in association with INPA (International Neurological Physical Therapy Association).
The event brought together experts from across the globe, in neurological physiotherapy, rehabilitation and research. We have pulled together the key points, from a selection of the programme speakers:
Stroke recovery is a highly individual process, which depends on many different things. The severity of the stroke and location of the area of damage in the brain will all have an effect on the recovery time.
Initially, the biochemistry of the brain is disrupted by the stroke. Over a period of days and weeks things settle down and the initial shock wears off.
We offer individual and specialised neurological physiotherapy treatment. Helping each patient work towards improving their movement and confidence, following a stroke or neurological condition such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, vestibular dysfunction and adults who were born with cerebral palsy.
3 reasons hands-on neurological physiotherapy treatment helps recovery of control of movement after stroke.
People who have had strokes or have other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or balance disorders often find moving around difficult. Movement may be weak and limited, slow or lack co-ordination. Simply telling people to move, talks to the part of their brain which is responsible for producing movement. This part may not be communicating clearly with the other parts of the nervous system, which are responsible for actually doing movements. This may mean that movements are simply not able to be initiated without a little help.
During hands-on physiotherapy treatment the neurological physiotherapist and person receiving treatment work together, so that the patient can again feel how to move with more control and less effort.
This is part of our series of tips to reduce time sitting after stroke and practice standing. Visit our website for more tips. Before carrying out any of the exercises in our blogs please read the important note below*
1. Create a checklist
Have a checklist in your head about the quality of your standing. The aim is a good posture, which allows a relaxed standing position, with weight evenly distributed on both feet and the back in a neutral position.