Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) disrupt normal neural system function and create significant challenges to movement and day to day functioning. Pilates provides an excellent environment to retrain movement and create new neural pathways.
Parkinson’s Disease and MS are both degenerative conditions, whereas stroke and traumatic brain injury occur due to an injury to the brain. For people with neurological conditions, there is a blockage in normal transmission of neural signals from the brain to the rest of the body. This can be due to the lack of a neurotransmitter (dopamine) as in Parkinson’s, problems with conduction of neural signals due to demyelination of neurons with MS or neural cell death which occurs in stroke and TBI.
Thankfully, the brain has the capacity to learn and build new neural pathways in a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. A nice way to think of it is when there is an accident on the freeway and you need to take a detour through the back streets to reach your destination. Blockages opposing normal movement may involve weakness, spasticity (heightened stretch reflex), rigidity and problems with coordination and motor planning. Treatment and exercise need to be targeted towards each symptom and in a specific order for new neural pathways to develop.
For those with neurological conditions, it is imperative to start treatment and exercise sooner rather than later. It is essential to improve function and strengthen weakened muscles to delay the progression of symptoms. Pilates provides an excellent form of exercise due to the supportive nature and the ability to challenge balance, coordination and strength.
How can The Body Refinery help you?
At The Body Refinery, we believe in commencing your rehabilitation as soon as a diagnosis is made. If you have Parkinson’s or MS and feel like your symptoms are very minimal and not yet giving you great difficulty, we encourage you to start your Pilates journey as early as possible to ensure you are able to keep doing what you love for as long as possible. For Stroke and TBI, the rehabilitation process does not stop once you leave hospital or outpatient rehab, it continues until you are either back to functioning at the pre-injury level or able to do the things you’d like.
All our physiotherapists at The Body Refinery undertake specific training in neurological conditions during their university study. Two of our physiotherapists Luiseach Walsh and Kristen Eales undertook further advanced Pilates training specifically for MS, Parkinson’s Disease and Stroke.
As with all conditions, no one case is the same and everyone presents with a different set of challenges and goals. We, therefore, recommend one on one sessions as well as diligence with a home exercise program set by your physiotherapist to alleviate symptoms and maintain progressions made in the studio. For more information on how The Body Refinery team can help you, please contact our reception team to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.
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