Understanding Functional Neurological Disorder (FND): How PT and OT can Help
Updated: May 6
Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) describes a disorder where the brain has difficulty communicating information to the rest of the body. It can be helpful to think of your brain as a computer. For people with FND, there is no damage to the hardware (brain), but there is a problem with the software, or the programs running on the computer (communication and signaling problems).
FND can cause difficulty with movements or sensation impacting the completion of daily tasks. Individuals may experience decreased strength, sensation, critical thinking skills, as well as altered movement such as tremors, dystonia, or seizure-like symptoms. Some people with FND may have many symptoms, while others only have a few. These symptoms causing difficulties with day to day tasks can increase stress and fatigue.
Physical therapists are experts in helping you improve your mobility and return to your normal activities. The focus of PT is to help you find strategies to improve the communication between your brain and the rest of the body to improve your balance and walking. Physical therapists will identify stretches and exercises to help improve your flexibility and muscle strength. They may also take you through exercises to help your vestibular system, or inner ear balance system, if you are experiencing issues with dizziness and balance.
Occupational therapists are experts in helping people improve their ability to complete day to day tasks. Overall, the goal of occupational therapy is to improve your overall health and well-being with the activities that matter the most to you. Occupational therapists can help you identify events, barriers, and triggers that may increase symptoms. They can provide strategies to manage fatigue, stress, anxiety, and to conserve energy to continue doing the tasks you want and need to do. Occupational therapists can help you develop a structured plan and routine to gradually re-introduce activities you want to participate in, but may not have not been able to.
Working with a PT and OT simultaneously can help some people reach their goals in a shorter amount of time. Combining physical exercise in PT with schedule and lifestyle management techniques learned in OT allows you to create an individualized and holistic approach to managing your FND symptoms.
The therapists at Engage Therapy & Wellness in Syracuse NY work collaboratively to help you reach your goals. Do you or someone you know have FND and want to learn more? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-810-2423 with any questions.