Top Neuro Resources for Physiotherapists 2021
Check out these top resources if you work with people with neurological conditions
We’ve pulled together some of the best resources for clinicians working with people living with neurological conditions. We hope that this list will continue to be updated as more resources are made available so make sure you bookmark / revisit the page in the future. Included within this list:
- Online Courses
- Condition specific resources
If you’ve got resources you think should be added let us know via @physiospot.
The mission of the NeuroCollaborative is to transform healthcare by helping every neuro professional gain clinical excellence.
Their podcast called the I love neuro podcast will definitely help you gain clinical excellence. The team focuses on all things related to neuro practice and with 80 podcasts in their back catalogue you have a lot to catch up on.
The MDTea Podcast
This is a must listen to monthly podcast series which covers a diverse range of topics and whilst not being a neuro specific podcast it is still worth a listen.
You can listen to the entire back catalogue of podcasts via their website which includes additional resources, infographics and references. The podcast is also available via all major podcast streaming services.
Online Learning – Courses & Blogs
There are some great courses out there. You may need to register for some of these and provide an email address, but they are all free to access.
According to the World Health Organisation, a Stroke is defined as an accident to the brain with “rapidly developing clinical signs of focal or global disturbance to cerebral function, with symptoms lasting 24 hours or longer, or leading to death, with no apparent cause other than of vascular origin and includes cerebral infarction, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage”.
It’s a condition where physio intervention is essential to make sure patients get as much quality of life and function as possible after their stroke. Below are some resources you will find indispensable to making this possible.
- Stroke Foundation learning modules – from communication, to recovery of standing, there are a wide range of practical courses to work through.
- Stroke engine e-learning modules – check out the module on aerobic exercise recommendations.
- The World Stroke Academy – a core educational activity of the World Stroke Organization and provides high-quality stroke education to healthcare professionals.
- StrokeEd resources – the StrokeEd Collaboration was established in 2011 and has a wide variety of excellent resources for stroke education including a great blog covering topical issues
- Enable me – is an excellent website (which is aphasia friendly) for patients and clinicians which will quickly help you keep up to date with the latest developments of treatment and rehabilitation.
Introduction to the Facial Nerve
The Facial Nerve (7th cranial nerve) is one of the most continuously used nerves in the body, providing motor innervation to the muscles of facial expression which are also involved in mastication, speech and the expression of our emotions as well as innervating the salivary glands and taste buds. The course and anatomical relations of the Facial Nerve expose it to various possible sites of injury, leading to facial palsy. Knowledge of the facial nerve, its course, function and vulnerabilities, is essential for the optimal management of any facial palsy.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by chronic inflammation, demyelination, gliosis, and neuronal loss. The course may be relapsing-remitting or progressive in nature. Lesions in the CNS occur at different times and in different CNS locations. Because of this, multiple sclerosis lesions are sometimes said to be “disseminated in time and space.”
The clinical course of the disease is quite variable ranging from stable chronic disease to a rapidly evolving and debilitating illness making its challenging condition to confidently manage in clinical practice. The resources below will help improve your confidence when working with patients who are living with MS.
- Introduction to MS: an online course for fitness & wellness professionals – Six modules and a quiz, all about Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and exercise therapy.
- Multiple Sclerosis Trust Clinical Learning Sections – Includes useful videos on therapeutic handling and links to a variety of resources.
Muscle weakness is a key physical impairment in neurological conditions that limits mobility. Progressive resistance training is recommended to address strength deficits in stroke and other neurological conditions however, the selection of proper exercise techniques requires an understanding of walking biomechanics and muscle function during gait. This course discusses the implementation of a specific approach to strength training to improve walking in individuals with neurological conditions.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that mostly presents in later life with generalized slowing of movements (bradykinesia) and at least one other symptom of resting tremor or rigidity. Other associated features are a loss of smell, sleep dysfunction, mood disorders, excess salivation, constipation, and excessive periodic limb movements in sleep (REM behavior disorder).
PD is a disorder of the basal ganglia, which is composed of many other nuclei. The striatum receives excitatory and inhibitory input from several parts of the cortex. The key pathology is the loss of dopaminergic neurons that lead to the symptoms. It is the seconds most common neuro-degenerative condition in the world after Alzheimer’s Dementia meaning it is important for all clinicians to have information at their fingertips.
The Parkinson’s UK learning hub is a great place to find this essential information and over 24 hours of training is available for free. There is also the excellence network has loads of resources you can use in your clinical practice and the exercise hub has an exercise bootcamp, just email email@example.com to request access
Management of Parkinson’s Disease
PD is a complex disease which has a wide and varied effect on each patient. This often challenges the physiotherapist when designing an appropriate individualised management program. After learning about PD assessment in the previous course you are now about to dive into an intervention framework that considers primary and secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s. In this course you will learn the aims of physio in PD management and practical intervention strategies to help your patients fulfill their maximum capabilities.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating neurological condition with tremendous socioeconomic impact on affected individuals and the health care system. Today, the estimated lifetime cost of an SCI patient is $2.35 million per patient. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are 12,500 new cases of SCI each year in North America. More than 90% of SCI cases are traumatic and caused by incidences such as traffic accidents, violence, sports, or falls.
The Male-to-female ratio of 2:1 for SCI, which happens more frequently in adults compared to children. Demographically, men are mostly affected during their early and late adulthood (3rd and 8th decades of life) while women are at higher risk during their adolescence (15–19 years) and 7th decade of their lives i.e. age distribution is bimodal, with a first peak involving young adults and a second peak involving adults over the age of 60.
Because of the diversity and variation in both cause and symptoms people living with a spinal injury have, there is a lot to learn and it can be overwhelming. The resources below are the best and most accessible for you to get on top of what you need to know.
- eLearn for SCI – professional development modules for people involved in management of those with spinal cord injury.
- Physioplus SCI – this course aims to provide a basic theoretical understanding of the management of Spinal Cord Injury in order to equip physiotherapists with sufficient knowledge to manage a person following a Spinal Cord Injury.
The term “muscular dystrophy” incorporates an assortment of hereditary disorders that lead to progressive, generalized disease of the muscle prompted by inadequate or missing glycoproteins in the muscle cell plasma membrane. Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a non-communicable disorder with abundant variations. Each has its pattern of inheritance, onset period, and the rate at which muscle is lost. Alterations in specific genes cause different representations of this disease.
Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. In most varieties the muscles of the limb girdles (the pelvic and shoulder muscles) are involved. Over time, people with MD lose the ability to do things like walk, sit upright, breathe easily, and move their arms and hands.
There is no cure for MD. Physiotherapists and other health professionals work on improving muscle and joint function and slowing muscle deterioration so people with MD can live as actively and independently as possible. Below are some excellent e-learning modules for you to learn how to keep peopling living with MD as independent as possible.
- Muscular Dystrophy UK eLearning Modules – a variety of topics related to neuromuscular conditions for healthcare professionals.
- Exercise for Muscular Dystrophy – The role of exercise and strength training is controversial because there are two plausible yet conflicting answers. This blog post explains why.
Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is “an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force”. It occurs when an external force impacts the brain, and often is caused by a blow, bump, jolt or penetrating wound to the head. However, not all blows or jolts to the head cause traumatic brain injury, some just cause bony damage to the skull, without subsequent injury to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury is now more commonly referred to as Concussion.
Traumatic brain injury does not always result in obvious motor impairment. Other hidden symptoms related to cognition and behaviour can also occur with traumatic brain injury. The fact that the population living with traumatic brain injury are largely invisible and are not outspoken about their needs plus widespread misunderstanding of the impact of related conditions, has earned the traumatic brain injury the name the “silent epidemic”.
The resources below will help you learn how to manage both visible and invisible consequences of brain injuries.
- Headway Brain injury association resource library – Headway promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. In addition, Headway will campaign to reduce the incidence of brain injury.
- Physioplus Concussion Programme – This programme of courses provides an in-depth review of concussion neurophysiology, assessment and physiotherapy management.
Concussion results in a constellation of physical, cognitive, visual, emotional, and sleep-related disturbances. In order for us to assess and treat concussion, we need to understand the mechanism of injury, and what happens to the brain at a macroscopic and microscopic level. This programme of courses addresses these needs and how they relate to the subjective and objective examination and the physiotherapy management of concussion.
Apps, Blogs & Other Resources
There are plenty of blogs, apps and other resources available on the internet, too many to include all of them on this list. What we’ve done is add our favourites below.
- WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour – including guidance for those with long-term conditions and those living with disability
- Royal College of GPs e-learning– there is a broad range of subject areas as you’d expect from a GP-focussed site but there’s a well-stocked area on Neurological problems that is worth a look.
- REPS Recovery Exercises -this app consists of post-stroke exercise programs that are guided by videos. The programs were designed to improve and/or maintain strength and mobility, as well as encouraging people after stroke to be more physically active.
- Via Therapy upper extremity stroke rehab programmes – the free VIA Therapy website and App recommends evidence-based upper limb interventions. Users move through a decision tree of key questions about a stroke survivor’s impairments.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an effective, evidence-based approach for assessing and treating individuals experiencing vertigo, dizziness, motion sensitivity, compromised gaze stability and postural instability. In this programme you will cover BPPV, post-concussion dizziness, vestibular rehab exercise programming as well as sensory integration dysfunctions.