Rehab therapy has been shown to help patients to retain their functional activities for a longer period. Regular exercise program is a must for all patients of MND. It enhances mobility and independent activities. It is, many times, discouraging to see deterioration despite exercise, but remind yourself that exercise helps to slow down the rate of downfall. We have to maintain as much strength as possible so that we can avail the cure found in future.
While performing exercises maintain safety, don’t get over-exhausted, do it with frequent rest-pauses, maintain hydration and give commands to your body.
There are different therapies that may be required in MND.
Occupational therapy – special therapy focusing on functions of upper limbs
Speech and swallow therapy – helps person to learn swallowing techniques and improve speech.
Psychological counseling – to avoid depression.
Goal of physiotherapy is
- To maintain strength of weak muscles for as long as possible
- Postural correction
- Guidance regarding proper support aids eg. calipers, walkers, crutches, wheelchair
- To maintain respiratory capacity
- Functional re-education
- To prevent contractures deformities
Physiotherapist incorporates different types of exercises to achieve the above goals.
Types of exercises are
- Passive exercises: To maintain full movement (range of motion) of different joints.
- Person’s muscles are relaxed and therapist puts all the efforts and strength to move that part.
- Active assisted exercises: To maintain strength of weak muscles
- Person makes all efforts to move a part and therapist only supports it.
- Stretching exercises: To stretch tight muscles and prevent muscle contractures, deformities
- Breathing exercises: To maintain clear chest & respiratory capacity
- Balancing exercises: To maintain & improve balance in sitting, standing, walking.
Therapist uses the exercises in the context of a “functional activity”. This refers to performing meaningful activities while simultaneously working on increasing function and mobility. It also deals in training the activities of daily living such as writing, eating, grooming, dressing, and wheelchair skills within the limits of disability enabling the patient to lead an independent life.
Home modification and environmental modification plays a vital role in the successful rehabilitation of the person with ALS. Environment is a place where the individual has to carry out his ADL activities or work includes natural as well as artificial objects. So, the environment includes individuals home, workplace, neighborhood, community.
Home and Environmental Modifications:
It deals with the mechanics of producing words, such as articulation, pitch, fluency, and volume which is affected in MND. Therapist teaches exercises to improve clarity of speech and strengthen the voice.
They also teach techniques to improve swallowing and avoid choking spells.
MND affects not only the person but the whole family. Their world crashes down like a pack of cards in a moment when diagnosis is done. More than anything, it is the hopeless and helpless feeling that drags them into depression. It is very difficult for the family to see their loved one deteriorating. The person affected starts feeling worthless, unwanted, burdensome and unneeded. These negative feelings cause more harm to physical health. So psychological counseling of the person and family plays an important beneficial role.
Psychological counselors are trained in modern psychological methods to help you resolve fears, panics and anxieties, and to help you break through depression. They guide you to open up to new possibilities and take control of your lifestyle. Rediscover yourself and be yourself. Psychological Counseling can help enable you to renew a sense of purpose in your life, find paths to self-discovery and feel happier & peaceful within yourself.