BACKGROUND- The field of neurorehabilitation involves the provision of rehab services to promote functional recovery in patients with disabling neurologic conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, and neuromuscular disorders.
REVIEW SUMMARY- This article reviews the specific role of the rehabilitation physician and other team members in the management of patients with chronic neurologic diseases. The goals and objectives of a comprehensive rehabilitation program are discussed. The impact of rehabilitation strategies on neuronal plasticity and the use of pharmacologic agents and therapy strategies in promoting neurologic recovery are reviewed. As well, the role of functional outcome measures in directing rehabilitation services is detailed.
CONCLUSIONS- Further research should be directed at determining the molecular and structural changes that underlie recovery after neurologic injury; this should allow for the development of even more effective therapeutic interventions to optimize functional recovery for patients with chronic, disabling neurologic disorders.