I have a client had has neurological impairment on her left side from the removal of a brain tumor. She was paralyzed right after surgery but with physical therapy she regained feeling and mobility but she still has issues with the left side, her left side just can’t always keep up with the right and there are just some things she can’t do. I focus on exercises that don’t isolate one side. For example, we don’t do lunges we do squats instead but I’m also trying to work on balance with her.
Right now, my biggest challenge is that she wants to run a 5k at the end of May. She’s not so much out of shape, just limited by the neurological impairment. We just started a few days ago. She can’t seem to run more than 2 minutes at a time so right now I’m having her do 2 minutes on, 2 off. I’ve been out of town so I haven’t been with her yet to be there while she’s running. Might be better when I’m there to encourage her to go a little longer but I’m wondering if part of it is the treadmill. I know some people with balance issues can run outside but can’t run on the treadmill. I know this is more than just a balance issue. I’ve never worked with anyone like this so I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks in advance for your help.
I work with a few clients with neurological challenges. The one thing that is challenging is that every client presents a slightly different picture even if there is the same diagnosis. Yes, there are commonalities, but you will have to use a process of elimination and sometimes even trial and error (as long as done safely) to find the best path.
One thing I usually do is work unilaterally, and also work on isolating before integrating. I often find that – while there are neurological causes for imbalances – there are also often just imbalances as you would find them in any other person. That is particularly true when one side has been paralyzed for some time.
You are right: running or walking on the treadmill is different from a normal outside surface. I have a client with Parkinson’s who used to do great on the treadmill even if he was struggling otherwise. It is certainly worth exploring. Even though her goal to run a 5 K by the end of May sounds a little optimistic, I would absolutely not discourage her to aim for a 5 K even though the time frame may need to be adjusted.
If you feel I can be of help, you are more than welcome to contact me beyond this forum. Contact information is on my web site.
I wish you and your client good luck.