Isabella was diagnosed with Cerebellar Atrophy around 11 years ago. During this period, Isabella has experienced profound difficulty walking in the community, greatly affecting her confidence. She presents with both balance and co-ordination deficits, and reduced strength as a result of living with her diagnosis for 11 years. As a result of her condition, this has left Isabella in a position where she cannot walk on uneven surfaces or explore the community without her walker, balance unassisted in the kitchen/bathroom or lift heavy objects.
Cerebellar Atrophy is a progressive neurological condition in which the neurons (nerve cells) in the cerebellum deteriorate and eventually die. The cerebellum is important in controlling balance and coordination in turn affecting global movements such as walking, sitting and standing.
In the past, Isabella was given exercises to perform at home however never had the confidence or motivation to adhere. This can be very common in people with neurological conditions and it is very important to set the appropriate level and give the adequate guidance and support to ensure they complete their exercise program effectively.
Isabella initially received an intensive Exercise Physiology (EP) block of therapy, starting in April with ARC EP Jake. The block of therapy was twice per week for six weeks with the focus of developing baseline strength, challenging balance and improving functional capacity both in and out of her apartment setting. Isabella is now able to balance unassisted in ½ tandem stance for >30sec (previously <3secs), stand up from chair unassisted (previously required bilateral support + pillow assistance) and can stand in the kitchen or bathroom to perform her activities of daily living without the fear of falling. Going forward we are currently in our second block of therapy which is supplemented by a home exercise program. This block of therapy emphasises further improvements in mobility, unassisted balance within her home setting and increasing aerobic capacity for walking within the community.
It’s hard to believe the amazing results Isabella has had in just 10 weeks – well done Isabella, keep up the great work!