Our clinic offers specialized therapy programmes for patients with ataxia. These programmes include Physiotherapy, often incorporating remarkably powerful Intensive Suit Therapy (a.k.a TheraSuit Method, or Adeli Method), as well as Speech Language Pathology, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, and Occupational therapy.
Ataxia is the neurological inability to coordinate muscular movements during voluntary activities such as walking, talking, swallowing,moving the eyes, doing up buttons, etc. It is often indicative of either a permanent or temporary underlying condition that is causing degeneration, damage or the loss of nerve cells in the cerebellum(the two golf ball sized, folded sections of brain tissue that control muscular coordination which are located close to the brain stem).
Ataxia may be induced by a wide ranging series of events including strokes, tumors, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, alcohol abuse, head trauma, transient ischemic attack (TIA), paraneoplastic syndromes, toxic reactions from barbiturates, sedatives, and other medications or heavy metal and/or solvent poisoning. There is also a hereditary tendency towards certain genetic types of ataxia.Progressive diseases (and even chicken pox)that affect the peripheral nerves connecting the cerebellum to the muscles and diseases that affect your spinal cord can also cause ataxia. Ataxia may develop slowly or come on suddenly, depending on the cause, and may be permanent or may self-resolve over time (as is usually the case in chicken pox).
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of balance
- Stumbling or unsteady walking
- Difficulties with tasks requiring fine motor skills such as writing, eating, picking up pins
- Speech changes and slurred speech
- Nystagmus (involuntary left and right movements of the eye)
Treatment often involves occupational, physical and/or speech therapy and devices that can help to maintain the individual’s independence, such as canes or walkers.
Revivo’s Intensive Suit Therapy may prove useful in promoting full recovery from the temporary forms of ataxia as well as in relieving some of the symptoms of other more long-term forms of the disease. Intensive Suit Therapy essentially redirects pathological reflexes into functional movements through repetition of progressively more difficult resistance exercises – it is a sort of re-programming of the brain so that movements become normalized.