The Centre has offered a physiotherapy service for many years which has proved very beneficial to many people suffering with M.S. and other neurological conditions. The goal of the service is to provide the opportunity for people with neurological conditions to receive the benefit of supervised exercise to improve their fitness, balance, flexibility and confidence.
The service is not designed to be a substitute for rehabilitation, but to supplement rehabilitation following a person’s discharge from a rehabilitation course received on an individual basis. The service should be a go-between in a person’s discharge from rehabilitation on a one-to-one basis, either within the NHS or privately, and their independent maintenance of their condition within the community.
The service is structured so that each individual is assessed on the first session by a Chartered Physiotherapist. This is a comprehensive assessment, including a balance and mobility baseline. Our clients are then provided with an individual goal based exercise programme, with advice specific to their condition.
What does physio involve?
The first session with a Physiotherapist will always involve a detailed assessment of your problems. You will usually be asked questions about your specific condition, your general health (including previous medical problems) and any tablets that you are taking, as these questions may influence the type of treatment you will receive. You will also be asked detailed questions on how your symptoms affect you, including the specific problems they cause you in your daily life at home, whilst you are out and about and in work, and what you feel you would like help in improving.
What happens after the initial assessment?
Following this, you will receive an examination appropriate to your specific problems. For people suffering with MS or other neurological conditions, this will include assessment of ability to move limbs, strength, feeling ability, how tight muscles are (your tone), how loose joints are and coordination. More detailed assessment may be needed of specific problems that may be found, for example, a painful joint.
Will there be further tests?
Many people with neurological conditions have problems with balance. If this is the case, we will use a standardised balance test called the BERG test, and possibly a walking test called the Timed Up And Go test (TUAG), to provide a baseline of your ability. These tests are used in many physio departments and are a useful way to show how much you have improved with any treatments that you receive, and are useful for annual reviews of your condition. The BERG test involves various graded tests of your balance, and is scored out of 56.
If you are able to walk, the TUAG times you rising from a chair, walking around a mark placed 3 metres away, and returning to sit in the chair. This has proven a very sensitive way of measuring anyone’s walking ability.
After your assessment, the physiotherapist will agree some achievable goals with you so that you know exactly what you are working towards, and agree with you the best way of reaching these goals.
Are the sessions run in groups or individually?
Providing that you meet the set criteria, you will then be given the opportunity to attend an appropriate small exercise group. Groups appropriate to varying levels of ability are available. The sessions are run by a trained Physiotherapy Assistant, following careful guidelines and a structured plan. You will be re-assessed at regular intervals and the programme updated as appropriate.
What if I can’t do group sessions?
If your problems are not appropriate for group work, then one to one physiotherapy sessions may be required. Resources for this are more limited, however.
What can physio do for me?
Physiotherapists are trained with specialist handling skills to help you improve your condition thorough movement and support. We have had significant success in helping people cope better and live with their condition.
People have found that there has been an improvement in their balance, coordination, ability to walk and fitness. We may be able to help you reduce pain caused through stiffness and contractures. If you are less mobile we can help you to stand with assistance and help you to develop better, more efficient ways of moving.
We are able to liaise with medical and therapy staff as necessary. Once you have been assessed and you have set your goals, there are many ways that physiotherapy may help you reach these goals.
I don’t have M.S but feel I need physiotherapy, who do you accept?
We are open to anyone with a neurological problem for assessment. If we do not feel we can offer you any help, then we will let you know after the assessment is complete. We will accept anyone with a neurological condition where their balance or mobility is affected, including those with MS, people who have suffered from a stroke, those who have Parkinson’s disease, mild dementia, and frequent fallers for any suspected neurological cause.
We are ideal for anyone who has completed a course of physio in the NHS, but feel that they need a top-up course but are unable to re-access the system.
Should I be referred by my GP or NHS specialist?
No, the service is also suitable for those with milder neurological conditions, who have not had access to the NHS rehabilitation services, but wish to improve themselves in a group setting. Some limited one-to-one treatment sessions are also available if the person assessed is not suitable for group exercise or has more limitation to their physical abilities.
The physiotherapy services are open to self-referrals. You do not have to see your GP to be assessed by a physiotherapist. However, if your problems have never been diagnosed, your problem has suddenly deteriorated, or you are unsure regarding your fitness ability to exercise, then it is best that you consult your GP first.
Physiotherapists may recommend you to the Centre at the end of your NHS course.
We operate a waiting list, but it remains relatively short.
You will be required to become a MS Centre Member if you decide to receive an ongoing course of treatment.
The service is run as an open access, self referral scheme, but recommendations to the service are happily accepted from other health professionals. Recommendations may be verbal or written.
Can I join a class?
Yes, an exercise class may be appropriate for your needs. We have set up an exercise group specifically to improve peoples’ fitness, balance and strength. This is called the BAFTA Group (Balance And Fitness Training Activities).
We have several levels of groups running, so that the group that you enter will be suitable for your ability. These groups are suitable for anyone with mild to moderate balance problems, are well supervised, with constant regard for safety.
How long does a session last and what does it involve?
Sessions last for approximately 1 hour and include exercises in sitting and standing (holding onto a rail if you wish) working on your balance, suppleness, strength and fitness.
The more able groups may practice climbing down on the floor and rising again and perhaps include some exercises on the floor.
Treatment may include specifically graded stretches and/or exercises for particular groups of muscles that have become too weak or too tight. Posture correction, gait re-education, strengthening exercises and assisted standing. These are very specific treatments tailored to the persons’ individual needs. Some of these techniques may be taught to carers to continue at home.
We have various equipment that we use to facilitate both group and 1:1 exercises, including specialist plinths, gym balls, wobble cushions, parallel bars, steps, an active/passive bicycle (this will allow even someone without any ability to move their legs or arms to exercise on a bike – the arm attachment allows arm exercises), a standing frame and a tilt table.
We are fully kitted with a hoist for those who are unable to stand.
The Physiotherapist has an interest in specialist seating, including wheelchairs, and can advise you on any aspect of postural support that you may need to prevent you from becoming stiffer.