What Is The Difference Between Neuro Physiotherapy And Physiotherapy?

In this blog, we explain the differences between neuro physiotherapy and physiotherapy but will mainly be concerned with the aim and effects of neuro physiotherapy as that is the area we specialise in at VIM Health.

What Is Neuro Physiotherapy?

Neuro physiotherapy is a specialist type of physiotherapy that looks at helping people that have a neurological condition or have had some sort of injury involving the central nervous system.

If the neurological condition affects movement and function, a person will have neuro physiotherapy to help them recover partial or full movement and improve their outcome. It is an important part of rehabilitation after an accident or illness that has caused neurological issues.

How Does It Work?

Your brain is marvellous because whilst it can break connections related to movement and function, it can also recover and form new synaptic connections. This ability is called neuroplasticity – neuro physiotherapy takes advantage of this ability helping new connections form. A vital aspect of neuro physiotherapy is the repetition of movement. Repetition is what helps the brain ‘relearn’ and form new connections.

What this looks like in patients varies depending on the type of illness or trauma they have suffered, and how soon they start rehabilitation. Each person undergoing neuro physiotherapy will have an individualised treatment plan that is focused on what they want to achieve.

For some people, these goals can be very big, such as learning how to walk. Other people may have fine motor issues they want to work on – the ability to pick up a pen and write, for example.

How Does It Differ From Physiotherapy?

Neurological physiotherapy isn’t different to physiotherapy but rather a specialist area of physiotherapy that primarily deals with neurological disorders using the phenomena of neuroplasticity. This is usually when a person has had an illness or accident that has caused damage to the spinal cord or brain.

General physiotherapy helps people that are recovering from illness or injury or have a disability, but the issues are usually muscular or skeletal. Physiotherapists use a variety of methods including exercise and massage to help patients.

The approach and goals of neuro physiotherapy and physiotherapy are similar though as they both work to promote independence and mobility without the use of medication or surgery.

Neuro physiotherapy can also be used in conjunction with traditional physiotherapy methods, depending on needs. At VIM Health we offer a wide range of neurological and MSK services so that we can provide treatment at one location for people with complex illnesses or injuries. We usually do this through our intensive neurorehabilitation programmes.

What Methods Are Used?

There is a wide range of methods used in neuro physiotherapy and a treatment plan will depend on a person’s current abilities and what they want to realistically achieve.

Treatments used range from balance therapy to those using high-tech pieces of equipment such as an exoskeleton. A typical rehabilitation programme at VIM Health is likely to consist of stretching, strengthening, massage, exercise, and the use of technology.

The aim overall is to improve areas such as balance, coordination, and the use of limbs, as well as restore gait and strengthen muscles.

Rehabilitation only starts after a patient has had a full assessment with one of our qualified, experienced therapists. An assessment with a neuro physiotherapist will take around an hour and a half. This is so that the therapist can gain a deep understanding of your condition, current abilities, and any other factors that may limit progress. Typically, a therapist will be looking for the areas of movement and function that affect your daily life. This ranges from the way you walk (gait) to how you can handle objects or raise your arms. The therapist will also ask lots of questions about your condition, any other therapies you have tried and, what you want to achieve.

Who Can Have Neuro Physiotherapy?

As mentioned, neurological physiotherapy is a specialist area of therapy that works with people with neurological conditions. Some of these conditions are caused by accidents or illness, such as brain damage or injury to the spinal cord.

People that survived a stroke can also have neuro physiotherapy to help regain any functions they may have lost.

Neuro physiotherapy is also suitable for people that have long-term degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Although these conditions can’t be cured, therapy can help delay symptoms and keep a person independent for as long as possible.

Read more about the conditions we treat.

VIM Health

VIM Health is a specialist provider of neurological and musculoskeletal (MSK) therapies helping people achieve the results they want after an illness or accident. We help people with a wide range of combined therapies and rehabilitation technology. The use of rehabilitation technology is what makes us stand out – at our clinic, we have a wide range of technology that is designed to help people with neurological conditions.

Get in touch to find out more or book an assessment with a neuro physiotherapist.


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