The aim of neurological rehab is to get you living independently again as soon as possible. That can be a lengthy process, especially if you have to re-learn basic skills like talking, writing and dressing yourself. At Central Maine Healthcare’s Rehab Center, we provide a long list of therapies designed to get you to the highest possible level of functioning and well-being.
If you’ve had a neurological disorder and think you’re a good candidate for rehabilitation, call 205-795-2927.
Types of Neurological Rehab
At Central Maine we can help you rehab from a variety of disorders, including brain injuries, movement disorders, spinal cord injuries, head and neck cancer, and stroke. While the specifics of your rehab program vary according to the disorder and your personal condition, most rehab takes you through your daily functions such as mobility, thinking abilities and communication.
For neuro rehab, you may work with physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, exercise specialists, nutritionists and others. They’ll make up your rehab team, and they will stay in close communication with your doctor and each other, monitoring your progress as you continue. Their goal is your smooth transition to outpatient care and independent living.
Pain management is included in many neurological rehab plans, because a number of neuro disorders cause pain and you may not find total relief during your treatment. In this case, you may be referred to Central Maine Healthcare’s pain management program, which includes education and education.
If you’ve suffered back pain after an injury or spinal disorder, you’ll undergo a program to regain strength, mobility and independence in terms of caring for yourself. Aquatic therapy is especially effective in relieving back pain, with the added bonus of relaxing sore muscles, too.
Other neurological rehab strategies might be new to you, or they could be continuations of your treatment plan, such as relief from stress, anxiety or depression. You might undergo training to regain lost social and behavioral skills, and nutritional counseling to plan meals that will support your wellness.
Rehab After a Stroke
Your after-stroke rehab plan will feature a special set of skills and goals. Many of these also are found in other neurological rehab programs, but almost all are likely to be part of your program after a stroke:
- Motor-skill training. You probably will start a regimen of exercises to improve your muscle strength and coordination, including the muscles involved in swallowing.
- Mobility training. You may need to learn how to use devices to help you move around, such as a walker, wheelchair or cane. Some patients wear an ankle brace during this phase; it supports their ankles while they get better at walking again.
- Constraint-induced therapy. It might sound counter-intuitive, but in this therapy, your unaffected limb—say, your left arm if your right arm had been affected by the stroke—is put in restraints. The idea is to exercise your limbs that were affected, without getting “help” from the healthy limbs.
- Range-of-motion therapy. These exercises show how far you can move your limbs in different directions, and work to increase their range.
- Electrical stimulus. Small electrical charges are applied to weakened muscles, causing them to contract and respond when they’re stimulated.
- Therapy for cognitive disorders. This type of rehab is highly personalized, and could include techniques for improving your memory, problem solving skills, social skills and safety awareness.
- Speech therapy. Many stroke patients need to learn to speak clearly again.
Your rehab might happen at home, in a skilled nursing center, or in an outpatient facility such as a doctor’s office. The sooner you begin rehab after a stroke, the better your skills will be—if you let yourself languish, you won’t get all of your “old self” back.