Neurological Physiotherapy and the NDIS
Neurological conditions are those that affect your nervous system, and they can have a significant impact on an individual’s function. Neurological physiotherapy services through the NDIS can help people with disability related to a neurological condition to achieve their goals.
What neurological conditions can an NDIS physiotherapist help with?
As experts in movement and function, NDIS neurological physiotherapists can support children and adults to manage the physical impacts of a neurological condition. For NDIS participants, physiotherapists focus on supporting you to achieve goals that are important to you, such as the ability to walk and move around throughout the day with or without assistance.
Neurological physiotherapy includes activities that improve your wellbeing, functional capacity and ability to participate in your home, school, workplace, and community.
Some of the neurological conditions a physiotherapist can help with include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Motor neurone disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Acquired and traumatic brain injuries
- Developmental delay
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Guillain Barre syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Autism/autism spectrum disorders
- Functional neurological disorder
At Active Ability, our NDIS registered physios focus on supporting people with disability – including disability related to neurological conditions – to achieve improved function, independence, and quality of life.
What is neurological physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists are university-trained allied health professionals who are qualified to diagnose and manage disorders of movement and function. All physios complete significant study into the nervous system, including how it works, what conditions can affect it, and what research shows about effective physiotherapy interventions for managing the symptoms of neurological conditions. Some physios complete additional post-graduate training in neurological physiotherapy.
Before explaining how neurological physiotherapy may benefit NDIS participants, it can help to understand more about how your nervous system works.
Understanding neurological conditions for NDIS physiotherapy
Your nervous system is a complex and amazing structure that is involved in every body function. It consists of your brain, spinal cord and nerves. The sensory system, including your eyes, ears and vestibular (balance) organs, also play an important part in nervous system function.
For you to move effectively, signals need to move freely along pathways connecting your brain, spinal cord, nerves and sensory system. If you have a neurological condition affecting any of these pathways, it can therefore affect your movement. This may impact everyday activities such as walking, maintaining your balance, and self-care activities like dressing and toileting.
Neurological conditions are quite common – they accounted for 7.3 per cent of Australia’s total burden of disease in 2015[i].
Neurological physiotherapy addresses the movement issues associated with neurological conditions by optimising the function of your nervous system organs and pathways. The goal for NDIS participants will be to support enhanced function through better movement. For some NDIS participants, this may include using adaptive technologies and/or different movement strategies for achieving your goals.
For example, if your goal is to access the supermarket in your local community, your NDIS physio may support you through training in mobility and endurance. Or, if you have a condition that means you are unable to walk, it could involve training you to use a motorised wheelchair to get there.
How might an NDIS registered physio help my neurological condition?
There are many other examples of how neurological physiotherapy under the NDIS can support people. Some of the ways an NDIS registered physio may assist you include:
- Functional mobility assessment – to determine your current level of functional capacity, plan relevant goals, and create a strategy for achieving them
- Mobility and balance training – to help you access important locations such as your school, workplace or community
- Falls prevention training – to help you stay safe and reduce your risk of a fall-related injury
- Recommendations for mobility and other adaptive aids – such as walkers and crutches, to optimise your safety and independence when mobilising at home and in your community
- Pain management strategies – such as hands-on techniques, stretches, postural correction, heat/cold and electrotherapies designed to help you stay on top of pain and support improved function
- Exercise programs – to address specific issues related to your goals, such as increased strength or flexibility
- Support for managing neurological fatigue – including advice on conserving energy, and prescription of evidence-based and carefully monitored exercise interventions
- Spasticity management – to maintain flexibility and reduce risk of contractures that could further impact your function
- Fine motor skill training – such as training in handwriting and manipulating kitchen utensils
- Prescription of braces and supports – such as knee or ankle braces which may enhance your functional capacity
- Education and training of support people – to facilitate the strategies included in your plan
- Support to participate in leisure and/or social activities – such as a community walking or exercise program
- Sensory processing training – to enhance function associated with changes in the sensory pathways, including balance and vestibular function
- Liaison with other health professionals involved in your care – such as exercise physiologists and dietitians, to foster a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to achieving your goals
- Supporting adaptation to changing needs – some neurological conditions are progressive, so your support needs, goals, and the strategies used to achieve them tend to change over time.
Every individual with a neurological condition is different. For NDIS participants, neurological physiotherapy will be tailored to meet your needs, taking into consideration your health, circumstances, preferences and goals. It’s all about achieving what matters to you.
How does neurological physio under the NDIS work?
The NDIS provides funding for allied health therapies, including physiotherapy, that an individual needs due to a disability.
Physiotherapy funding may be covered under the ‘Improved Daily Living’ and/or ‘Improved Health and Wellbeing’ categories of your NDIS plan.
If you’re NDIS registered and have a plan, you could be ready to start neurological physiotherapy!
To get started with an NDIS registered physio at Active Ability, simply complete our NDIS referral form here. Or you can contact our friendly team to learn more on (02) 8678 7874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your initial physiotherapy appointments will involve:
- Finding out more about your background and NDIS goals
- Conducting physiotherapy assessments to learn more about your current level of function
- Creating a therapy plan designed to support you to achieve your goals.
Your neurological physiotherapy sessions will be focused on improving or managing the physical symptoms of your condition, with the goal of enhancing your function and independence so you can participate in things that matter to you and enjoy the best possible quality of life.
Physiotherapy sessions are always personalised to your needs, so these look a bit different for all our NDIS participants. Our physios will encourage you to work hard towards your goals, but never beyond your comfort zone. They will ensure you feel safe and supported throughout your therapy program.
We will regularly review your progress and update your goals and treatment plan accordingly.
If your current budget doesn’t allow for physiotherapy but you’d like to receive it, we can support you to make changes at your next plan review. Get in touch with us to find out more.
More about NDIS physiotherapy with Active Ability
We’re mobile NDIS service providers, so our skilled and caring therapists can see you in the environment that’s most meaningful and convenient for you, such as your home, school, workplace or gym. We take a multidisciplinary approach – our physios work alongside NDIS registered dietitians and exercise physiologists to ensure you get the highest standard of care and have the best chance of achieving your goals.
We don’t have waiting lists, so you can get started with neurological physiotherapy as soon as you’re ready.
Find out more about our NDIS phyiotherapy services here, or contact our friendly team on (02) 8678 7874, mailto or via our contact form.
iAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare. Burden of disease. Release Date: 23 Jul 2020.