Tag Archives: Sensation

A Sleep Disorder That Affects the Legs – Restless Sleep

A Sleep Disorder That Affects the Legs – Restless Sleep Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome, known as RLS, is a sleep disorder that afflicts more than 15 percent of adults.
It affects more women than men and the incidence of restless leg syndrome increases with age. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and varicose veins, also increase the risk of developing restless leg syndrome.

This sleep disorder is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the lower legs, knees and occasionally the arms. Sometimes painful sensations accompany the urge to move. People that suffer from this sleep disorder describe the feelings and sensations in different ways. Many describe a tingling, itching or pulling sensation. Still others say it feels prickly or burns. Some feel as if they have worms crawling under their skin.

The sensations which are typical of this sleep disorder can occur anytime during the day or night.
Restless leg syndrome occurring at night has a devastating effect on sleep. The symptoms can cause the sufferer to get in and out of bed repeatedly which can delay or disrupt sleep. Since sleep in repeatedly interrupted, extreme daytime sleepiness is common.

The combination of always feeling tired and the symptoms themselves can cause a person with restless leg syndrome to alter their lifestyle. Long trips, movies, concerts and eating in restaurants are some of the activities they usually avoid. Attending a long meeting at work can become very painful and uncomfortable. People that have this sleep disorder often suffer from depression.

Researchers believe that restless leg syndrome may be caused by malfunctions of the pathways in the brain that controls movement reflexes and sensations. Often this sleep disorder has a genetic base.

Restless leg syndrome cannot be diagnosed by one single test. Often standard neurological examinations show no signs of an abnormality. In many cases, a doctor makes the diagnosis of restless leg syndrome based on the description of the symptoms. They also take into account family history, and the results of a routine medical examination and blood tests.

Many times the treatment for restless leg syndrome is aimed at controlling the debilitating sensations that accompany this sleep disorder. Often iron supplements are prescribed because severe anemia has been linked to this disorder. Relaxation techniques, diet changes and the elimination of caffeine and alcohol help some sufferers of restless leg syndrome.

In most cases, this sleep disorder is treated with drugs. These drugs could include dopamine agents, benzodiazepines, opioids or anticonvulsants. Medications do not cure restless leg syndrome, but they manage the symptoms. People that suffer from this sleep disorder usually have to stay on their medications for the rest of their lives.

Another sleep disorder similar to restless leg syndrome is periodic limb movement disorder known as PLMD. There are two main differences between restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. Restless leg syndrome occurs when the sufferer is awake or asleep; periodic limb movement disorder only occurs when the sufferer is asleep. Restless leg syndrome movements are voluntary responses to very unpleasant sensations; the movements of periodic limb movement disorder are involuntary and are not consciously controlled. Both of these sleep disorders can be effectively controlled with medical treatment.

Why Physiotherapy Is So Important in Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation is sometimes an uphill climb. After a stroke, patients can be left with paralysis, especially one-sided paralysis. Pain, as well as sensory deficits, has to be managed. Physiotherapy is a key part of the treatment plan.

Physiotherapists begin stroke rehabilitation very soon after the stroke has occurred, while the patient is still in acute care. The physiotherapist will first do an evaluation to determine what disabilities must be dealt with during stroke rehabilitation.

Some of the possible problems are: lack of strength and endurance, limited range of motion, problems with sensation in the limbs, and troubles walking. Stroke rehabilitation will focus on the problems that the patient displays. A plan for treatment will be devised.

Patients will learn to use limbs that the stroke has made temporarily useless. During stroke rehabilitation, it will be determined whether these limbs will reach their previous potential. If not, the physiotherapist will teach the patients ways to manage without their full use of the limbs.

One problem of stroke rehabilitation is called learned nonuse. This is when stroke patients do everything in their power to avoid using limbs that have been affected by the stroke. If left to their own devices, they will cripple the limb further by letting it atrophy through nonuse.

Physiotherapists use stroke rehabilitation to make sure that patients do indeed work to use their impaired limbs. They can do this in a number of ways. Sometimes it helps for the physiotherapist to tap or stroke the limb they want the patient to use.

If the patient will not easily participate in active range of motion exercises, passive ones can be used where the physiotherapist moves the limb herself. Other times, the patient will try to use the affected limb but will naturally fall back on the limb that is functioning well. In this case, stroke rehabilitation may involve gently restraining the healthy limbs.

It can be a difficult task of stroke rehabilitation to help victims relearn switching from one task to another. This is partly because of problems in the brain. The cues to move the muscles and joints in order to change movements are slow in coming. This is why practice is so important. The more times physiotherapists help a patient with this, the easier it becomes.

Recent studies have revealed that stroke rehabilitation can continue long after the hospital stay. In the past, stroke victims were given a short round of physiotherapy during the time they were in the hospital and for a few weeks shortly afterwards.

New research shows that physiotherapy can promote more advanced stroke rehabilitation if it is continued progressively at home. Patients will learn to walk better. They will gain strength to do daily chores. They will also achieve better posture and more balance, which can prevent falls.

Stroke rehabilitation involves a number of therapies, all designed to restore function to the patient’s affected limbs. Electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, and games have all been used. Stroke rehabilitation is not complete without the help of physiotherapy services.

Types of Physiotherapy That Help Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain plagues Americans to the extent that 80% will suffer from it at some time in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. For many, the problem is more than a passing incident; they need physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy of different types can be used to treat lower back pain. Acupuncture is fast becoming an important method for the relief of such pain. The doctor has the patient lie face-down and inserts the acupuncture needles across the back. The doctor then finishes the procedure for lower back pain. Pain relief after a series of treatments usually lasts months.

Massage is also used for lower back pain. The massage used must be done by someone well-versed in the treatment of lower back pain. A massage done by an untrained person may do more harm than good.

These methods are called passive therapies, or modalities. They are done to the patient and not by the patient. There are other modalities that are commonly used. Heat and ice packs are a well-known form of passive physiotherapy. They can be used separately, or they can be used alternately by a person who is suffering from acute lower back pain.

A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) can be used as another modality for lower back pain. The patient will feel the sensation of the stimulator instead of his pain. If the TENS unit seems to work well for him, he will be sent home with one to use at his convenience.

Ultrasound is especially useful as a passive therapy for anyone with acute lower back pain. It delivers heat deep into the muscles of the lower back. This not only relieves pain. It can also speed healing.

Back exercises may be assigned by a physiotherapist. These exercises will help with lower back pain if one does them correctly and faithfully. The only exception is if the back is in an acute condition requiring emergency care or surgery.

The exercises that will help with lower back pain the most will be assigned and supervised by a physiotherapist. They may be done at home, but it will be necessary to follow instructions and check in frequently.

These exercises include ones for lower back pain that stretch or extend the back and ones that strengthen it. One is an exercise where one lies prone and moves as if swimming. This protects the back while giving the surrounding muscles a workout.

Lower back pain exercises called flexion exercises strengthen the midsection to provide support for the back. If the lower back pain is reduced when one sits, these exercises are important. One is a knee-to-chest exercise.

Aerobic exercise such as walking is excellent for reducing and preventing lower back pain as well. Massage and acupuncture can be counted on to relieve pain for most patients. Exercises can make the back stronger to both relieve and prevent lower back pain. Any physiotherapy that can help relieve lower back pain will help millions of people.

The Benefits of Physiotherapy for Amputee Rehabilitation

Losing a limb is a devastating blow for anyone. It requires a team of professionals to make the adjustment to life without the limb. A physician, a prosthetist, nurses, and a psychologist are all needed. Add to that list a physiotherapy service, which will help with amputee rehabilitation.

The benefits of physiotherapy for amputee rehabilitation are numerous. For one, amputees will need help in overcoming phantom pains. These are pains where the limb used to be. The sensation really is in the nerve that would lead to that limb if it were still there. Physiotherapy can use its own techniques to treat this pain.

Most amputees will be getting a prosthetic limb. Some feel that it should be enough to learn how to put it on. It is not an automatic thing to get used to a prosthetic limb. Many patients have them for years without ever having normal functioning with them. This is one reason amputee rehabilitation is so important.

Physiotherapy can benefit amputee rehabilitation by gradually getting the patient accustomed to using a prosthetic limb. The physiotherapy plan for this will be based upon the needs and abilities of the patient.

The patient will probably need help during amputee rehabilitation to learn balance all over again. This is especially true is the affected limb is a foot or leg. However, having an arm that is of a different weight than the other may be unbalancing as well. Physiotherapy can help with these problems too.

One thing people going through amputee rehabilitation need to realize is that gait is a good deal of the battle. If one walks correctly, people will not even be able to detect one’s limp, even with a prosthetic leg. This skill can be learned from physiotherapists.

If a patient has waited a long while before seeking physiotherapy after surgery, a problem may arise. Certain muscles may become overdeveloped and others weakened. This happens because, without proper amputee rehabilitation, the patient relies on one set of muscles to the exclusion of others. A proper plan of physiotherapy can address this issue.

People who have lost a limb will need an individualized exercise program. Physiotherapy can provide such a program during amputee rehabilitation. This will take into account the different movements needed by amputees to perform normal exercises.

Manual therapies, such as massage, are a part of amputee rehabilitation with physiotherapy. This can relieve much pain and tension in the muscles that are overworked in getting used to their new situation. Other treatments can be used. Some of them are heat, acupuncture, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.

There is a need for physiotherapy in amputee rehabilitation that no other discipline can fill. It is a basic kind of help that anyone who has lost a limb can use. Some amputees decline treatment because they do not think it is necessary. Others feel overwhelmed by their loss. If there is a way to convince amputees to get physiotherapy to help them with their rehabilitation, they will find recovery a much smoother path.