Tag Archives: Neurological rehabilitation

Most common neurological disorders that require lifelong care: Part 1

Many neurological disorders cannot be cured, but rehabilitation plays a key role in the treatment of symptoms and the restoration of daily functioning. NeuLife provides individualized therapy to help patients experiencing neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) achieve the highest quality of life.

What is the nervous system?

The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system includes all other neural elements, including the peripheral and autonomic nerves.

In addition to the brain and spinal cord, the principal organs of the nervous system include the eyes, ears, sensory organs of taste, sensory organs of smell, sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.

Neurological disorders and neurological rehabilitation at a residential rehabilitation NeuLife, Mount Dora, Florida

Disorders of the nervous system may involve the following:

  •       Vascular disorders, such as stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage and hematoma, and extradural hemorrhage
  •       Infections, such as meningitis, encephalitis, polio, and epidural abscess
  •       Structural disorders, such as a brain or spinal cord injury, Bell’s palsy, cervical spondylosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, brain or spinal cord tumors, peripheral neuropathy
  •       Functional disorders, such as headache, epilepsy, dizziness, and neuralgia
  •       Degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s chorea, and Alzheimer’s disease

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral means connection to the brain and Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person’s ability to control their muscles. It is considered the most common motor disability in childhood.

The symptoms of CP vary. A person with severe CP might not be able to walk at all or may need to use special equipment to walk; either way, lifelong care is needed. A person with mild CP, on the other hand, might walk a little awkwardly, but might not need any special help. CP does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change. Many people suffering from CP also have related conditions such as intellectual disabilities, seizures, and problems with speech.

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but constant care often improves a person’s condition. What we offer at residential rehabilitation at NeuLife is early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery, which can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, as well as medicines to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and relieve the pain. Surgery can correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles. Braces and other orthotic devices, wheelchairs and rolling walkers, and communication aids can all be supportive equipment in the fight with CP.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, refers to a group of progressive, neurological diseases that cause dysfunction in the nerves that control muscle movement. Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, received his diagnosis of ALS at the age of 21. It attacks the nerve cells known as motor neurons that are used in voluntary muscle actions. In ALS, the motor neurons degenerate or die and stop sending messages to the muscles. Unable to function, the muscles gradually weaken, start to twitch (called fasciculations), and waste away (atrophy). Eventually, the brain loses its ability to initiate and control voluntary movements.

Early symptoms of ALS usually include muscle weakness or stiffness. Gradually all muscles under voluntary control are affected, and individuals lose strength along with the ability to speak, eat, move, and even breathe. External support becomes inevitable.

ALS is one of the conditions we treat using neurological rehabilitation at our residential rehabilitation NeuLife, Mount Dora. There is currently no cure, so the treatment aims to relieve symptoms, provide social and emotional support, and possibly slow disease progression. Our approach includes: physical therapy, occupational therapy, breathing therapy, speech therapy and nutrition support.

Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don’t produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Sometimes it is genetic, but most cases do not seem to run in families. Exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role. Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body; later, they affect both sides. Symptoms include:

  •       Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  •       Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  •       Slowness of movement
  •       Poor balance and coordination

As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking, or doing simple tasks. They may also have depression and trouble sleeping, chewing, swallowing, or speaking.

There is no lab test for PD, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors use a patient’s medical history and a neurological examination to diagnose it.

PD usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PD. Surgery and deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help in severe cases, but they are considered extreme treatments. Therefore, it is important to accept the gradual loss of independence and seek support from family or support groups. Being well informed about the disease can reduce anxiety about what lies ahead.

About NeuLife

NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Rehab facility specializing in neurological disorder rehabilitation. Its program includes physical medicine and rehabilitation medical management, psychiatric and neuropsychological services, physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapies, behavioral, dietary and vocational counseling, and more.  Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its inpatient rehab facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and contains 54 private rooms or suites. If you would like more information about NeuLife Rehabilitation Services, please contact us.