Theo has dystonic cerebral palsy and is seen here undergoing rehabilitation with Neurokinex

As World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 6 shines a light on the condition and encourages support for those affected and their families, good news comes in the form of Neurokinex and its ground-breaking rehabilitation options.

For more on World Cerebral Palsy Day see the website: https://worldcpday.org/

The timing for these advances couldn’t be more important with the number of children with CP in the England and Wales estimated to increase 7.5% percent by 2020 (source: Developmental Medicine & Children Neurology, “Predicting the prevalence of cerebral palsy by severity level in children aged 3 to 15 years across England and Wales by 2020).

Neurokinex delivers specialist neurological rehabilitation and therapies that seek to:

  • Increase range of motion in the lower body (hips, legs, ankles, and feet) and upper body (shoulder, elbow, wrists and hands)
  • Increase strength and motor control
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Develop and improve walking and transitional movements
  • Develop and improve fine motor skills
  • Incorporate new patterns of moving into functional skills
  • Develop smooth coordinated movement

In most CP cases, the neural pathways develop intact prior to birth so have the capacity to function. Neurokinex seeks to excite the nervous system and awaken dormant pathways while also treating the life-limiting symptoms presented by the disability. Its therapists work differently from traditional rehab or physiotherapy by using activity-based rehabilitation (ABR) techniques that involve the whole body in activity. Children leave their wheelchairs and take part in assisted standing, stepping, climbing and playing. Not only does this optimise the strength and endurance of the muscles that are functioning, it also stimulates the muscles affected by the condition. Neurokinex tailors its therapies to each individual, taking into account their ability and age. The therapies are presented as play with the Neurokinex Kids gym providing the perfect backdrop to put the fun into functional movement.

Two key protocols:

As an affiliated partner of the NeuroRecovery Network, Neurokinex uses its two unique protocols to achieve success.

Locomotor Training (LT)

Comprises a sophisticated treadmill programme that aims to reawaken dormant nerve pathways by repetitively stimulating nerves and muscles in the lower body to retrain the spinal cord to ‘remember’ the pattern of walking. LT improves trunk control in children with recent research (1) showing 100% of children improved their trunk control after the completion of intensive LT blocks (1.5h per day, 5 days per week, for 60 sessions)

Wide Pulse Stimulation (WPS)

Targets many muscles at the same time when administered as part of active therapy. Applying an electrical stimulus through electrodes as the individual performs an exercise or functional task signals the central nervous system to develop new pathways or strengthen existing ones.

Real children: real results

Theo Snelling, 7, has dystonic cerebral palsy and needs round-the clock care and help with dressing, eating and toileting. Unable to speak, Theo communicates via an electronic device. He started at Neurokinex Kids in October 2018 and participates in activities that encourage his interaction, co-ordination, core stability and leg strength. He starts each session with some gentle stretches and vibration training to relieve his high spasticity: having relaxed his muscles, he is then ready to work. Theo uses the Locomotor Treadmill where he is held in a harness that takes much of his weight to enable to him to walk. The tension in his legs means Theo naturally walks on tip toes but Neurokinex is training him to place his whole foot down in a movement they call Stomping Feet. Theo has made noticeable improvements in his seated posture, hip alignment and core control as well as improved walking with his frame. He attends Neurokinex for one hour a week during term time and steps up to enjoy an intensive block of therapy during school holidays.

For more on Neurokinex see the Neurokinex website: www.neurokinex.org

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