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Functional Neurological Disorders (FND)

Functional Neurological Disorders (FND)

  • Have you been searching for a physiotherapist who understands how to manage your FND?
  • Do you experience FND related fatigue, and are afraid to exercise?
  • Have you recently been diagnosed with a Functional Disorder, and don’t know what exercises are safe and helpful?
  • Are you wondering how to manage a flare-up of your FND?

What is Functional Neurological Disorders (FND)?

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a condition in which an individual experiences symptoms such as weakness, blackouts and/or abnormal movement that suggest an underlying neurological condition, without the presence of an underlying disease. FND is thought to arise from a disruption in the way the brain functions, rather than from damage to the nervous system.  It is caused by a complex combination of biological, psychological and social factors on the brain.

Most people who receive a diagnosis of FND have been seeking answers as to what has been causing their symptoms for some time.  Many are relieved to receive a diagnosis and to begin to learn about their condition and how to best manage it.

Common Symptoms

It’s important to remember that everyone is different. FND symptoms:

  • differ from person to person;
  • may vary and be unpredictable from day-to-day; and week-to-week;
  • can interact with other conditions or diagnoses the person has;
  • are commonly based on triggers; and
  • can be invisible, debilitating and result in a range of functional difficulties.

Symptoms can Include

  • Muscle weakness, cramping / spasms, stiffness, rigidity or involuntary movements
  • Difficulty with walking or other activities, that may also involve rapid changes in movement 
  • Impaired coordination or clumsiness
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Tremor
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Dizziness or vertigo, often with rapid involuntary eye movement
  • Heat intolerance
  • Impaired balance
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Sensory changes e.g. pins and needles, tingling or burning, abnormality of taste or altered touch sensation
  • Visual symptoms including: blurred vision, double vision or vision loss
  • Mood disturbance including: anxiety or mood swings or depression
  • Cognitive symptoms such as difficulty thinking and understanding
  • Speech symptoms including difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Difficulty swallowing 

How can we Help?

When you have FND, working with a health professional who ‘gets it’ is really important.

It’s recommended that you talk with a physiotherapist as soon as possible after your FND diagnosis, so that they can support you to manage your condition and answer any questions you may have.

At Active, we have a team of advanced trained Neurological Physiotherapists, and several of them are national leaders in the physiotherapy management of FND. We provide advice and suggest strategies to help you at any stage of your FND, whether you have just been diagnosed, or you have been managing the condition for some time.

Where appropriate, we provide treatment to stabilise, reduce or prevent problems you may be experiencing related to your general mobility and the way you function in your daily activities.  We will discuss with you how to identify and manage your ‘triggers’ and what to do if your condition flares up.

You should also talk with a physiotherapist if:

  • you have queries on the frequency, intensity and safety aspects of exercising
  • you’re uncertain about what type of exercise to do
  • you’re experiencing dissociative attacks
  • you have regular flare ups of your condition
  • you find regular exercise difficult
  • you experience walking problems
  • you experience balance problems resulting in falls, nearly falling or fear of falling
  • you experience pain
  • you are experiencing fatigue

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview to fully understand your symptoms, medical history, triggers and your specific goals
  • Physical Assessment of your body and movement patterns, including your functional abilities
  • Targeted Treatments that address the specific problems associated with FND such as muscle control, balance difficulties, tremor, dissociative attacks and fatigue 
  • Progressive Exercise Program that is safe for you. It will be specifically designed to address your particular needs, be that for specific movement problems, or simply to improve your general fitness, health and well-being, to help you to self-manage your condition.
  • Communication and Collaboration with your Neurologist, General Practitioner and the broader health team, to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care. 

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium