Neurological conditions occur when there is damage to the neural pathways involved in sensory, cognitive, motor and autonomic control. Depending on where the damage occurs, movement, thought processing, communication and vision can be affected.
Neurological conditions can be defined as either acute or long term. An acute neurological condition is often one that results from some kind of injury, causing irritation or inflammation of a nerve. This does not cause permanent damage and can be treated and reversed.
What is the Nervous System?
Our nervous system is a complex collection of nerves that regulate and coordinate our bodies activities. It is made up of two major components, including the Central Nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
- Central Nervous System: consists of the brain and spinal cord
- Peripheral Nervous system: consists of nerves involved in sensory and motor activity i.e receiving sensory information (vision, sound, smell, taste, touch) and producing an appropriate response (motor output).
Damage to these neural pathways can be the result of trauma, infection, degeneration, structural or genetic defects.
Types of Neurological Conditions
There are over 600 different types of neurological conditions. Conditions can be differentiated based on the type of damage caused to the nerves:
- Cardiovascular Disorders: Stroke, Hematoma (due to a limited supply of blood being able to reach the brain)
- Genetic defects: Huntington’s Disease, Muscular dystrophy
- Degenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Motor Neuron Disease
- Cancers: Brain Tumours
- Infections: Meningitis, Encephalitis, Polio
- Functional disorders: Epilepsy, dizziness, and neuralgia
Signs and symptoms of Neurological Conditions
Each neurological condition is unique, thus signs and symptoms may differ from one condition to the next. The following are possible symptoms of a nervous system disorder:
- Persistent or sudden onset of headaches
- Loss of feeling or tingling in the limbs
- Weakness or loss of muscle strength
- Muscle stiffness/rigidity
- Loss of sight
- Speech difficulty
- Memory loss or lowered perception
- Lack of coordination/balance/mobility
- Unexplained pain
Why is exercise important?
Perhaps you feel uncoordinated, as if your balance is deteriorating or your posture is poor? This could be a sign of poor proprioception, resulting in inefficient movement patterns. Neuromuscular re-education involves exercises that help restore natural and energy-efficient movement patterns, enhance joint biomechanics and reduce pain that may result from neuromuscular conditions. Exercises include functional strengthening, stretching, balance and coordination activities. Dual task activities, such as balancing on a bosu while performing specific movements patterns, is a typical example of a neuromuscular re-education exercise.
Once being diagnosed with a neurological condition, it is important to remain active. If you choose to be physically inactive, you decrease your levels of fitness, increase you risk for cardiovascular diseases and obesity and lower your abilities to perform basic activities of daily living.
There is an overwhelming amount of research that proves the benefit of exercise for both health and social integration for neurological populations. Exercising improves muscle strength, balance, coordination and flexibility while also increasing your wellbeing and quality of life. While exercise may not be the cure for your condition, it most definitely slows its progression.
How biokinetics can help
If you have been battling with some type of neurological condition, we want to encourage you to move and keep active. At Fish and Field, we offer a safe and comfortable environment to exercise under supervision and guidance of qualified Biokineticists who have experience working with these types of conditions. Call us today to set up an appointment.