ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Overtime, people with ALS becomes progressively weak. Symptoms include, but not limited to:

  • Foot drop & difficulty walking
  • Hand weakness
  • Difficulty with swallowing and speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramping and stiffness

A Physical therapist and an Occupational therapist can help those with ALS to prepare for their changes in function. The goal of PT and OT is not to build strength, but rather to maintain flexibility, fitness, safe mobility, and independence for as long as possible. A plan of care can include, but not limited to:

  • Exercise to maintain strength, flexibility, range of motion and general fitness.
  • Bracing (Ex: ankle brace to assist with foot drop or neck brace to decrease neck pain and maintain good posture)
  • Wheelchair prescription
  • Home evaluations to make recommendations for home modifications
  • Making recommendations for adaptive equipment and technologies
  • Caregiver education and training


Spinal cord injuries happen either from direct injury to the spinal cord itself or the bone and structures around the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can be complete or incomplete.

  • An incomplete SCI means the spinal cord can still transmit some messages. Those with incomplete SCI can have some sensory functions and may have some control over muscles below the injury level.
  • In complete SCI, there is no sensory or motor function below the injury level.

Some symptoms of SCI include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pain
  • Difficulty with mobility (walking, transferring)
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Bowel and bladder issues.
  • Cardiovascular changes

A comprehensive rehab approach is needed for those with SCI. Physical therapy and Occupational therapy are essential parts of the rehab process and can assist with:

  • Transfer training
  • Bed mobility, like rolling in bed or sitting up/laying down.
  • Gait training if appropriate
  • Breathing exercises
  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Wheelchair prescription and wheelchair mobility training
  • Getting on/off the floor
  • Maintain independence as much as possible with daily life activities
  • Community reintegration


MS is a progressive neurological condition that is caused by the loss of myelin around the nerves. Without myelin, the signal between the nerves are disrupted and communication cannot happen effectively. Symptoms of MS can vary person to person. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Changes in vision, ex: double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Balance difficulty
  • Difficulty with walking
  • Sensation changes or loss of sensation
  • Mental and cognitive changes
  • Stiffness and spasm
  • Bowel/bladder issues

A Physical therapist and an Occupational therapist can help evaluating and treating the functional limitations such as walking and balance difficulty, fatigue, decrease endurance, vertigo, decrease strength, activities of daily living, participation in community activities etc. Physical therapy and Occupational therapy can help slow down the disease progression.


  • Guillain-Barre
  • Functional neurological disorder (FND)
  • Neuropathy
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus