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PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) is a specific, recognized method of rehabilitation of patients with disorders in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. It is a comprehensive therapy characterized by its own philosophy and principles of working with patients. It is based on extensive knowledge in the field of neurophysiology.
PNFstands forProprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitationwhich translates asproprioceptive neuromuscular priming . PNF is a neurophysiological therapeutic effect on the receptors of the human body, which, through neuromuscular junctions, affects the central nervous system and helps the patient to perform movements impaired by the disease.
The aim of the PNF method is to work on a function that the patient needs in everyday life, e.g. lifting objects, sitting down, walking, maintaining the correct posture, swallowing, etc. To restore the patient's former fitness, he althy elements of the musculoskeletal system are used.
PNF is recognized as one of the best physiotherapeutic methods in modern physical rehabilitation.
PNF - preparation for rehabilitation
As with any rehabilitation therapy, preparation for exercise begins with talking to the patient and learning about their medical history.
An extremely important element is the assessment and examination of the patient's current mobility capabilities in relation to their proper, physiological course.
Besides, the patient has to define the goal he wants to achieve by starting PNF therapy. He should also describe exactly what motor function he has lost and why he wants to regain it.
Knowing all the needs and expectations of the patient, the therapist selects exercises that will allow him to achieve the goal set by the patient.
PNF - principles of therapy
Traditional physiotherapy works on muscle strength and the range of motion in the joints. In the PNF method, they become a therapeutic tool to realize the function lost as a result of the disease. Therapy includes:
- using strong and he althy parts of the body to stimulate the sick and weak areas through the mechanism of irradiation, i.e. transfer
- use of natural movements that run in three dimensions and are similar to everyday activities, which activate the greatest amount ofmuscle
- repeating the same movements many times allows you to recreate nerve conduction and remind the patient's body how to do it on its own
- stimulating the patient's many senses by engaging tactile, visual and verbal stimulation and stimulating proprioreceptors in muscles and tendons using appropriate techniques. The therapist's touch, eye-tracking, and a conversation with the therapist allow for proper performance of individual tasks, thanks to which the patient is more motivated to work
- exercises can be performed on a mattress, on a couch, with balls or other equipment and learning to walk,
- improving the vegetative functions includes working on facial expressions, the swallowing function, articulation, regulating the work of the nervous and respiratory systems by interacting with the trunk and chest
- elements of self-service training with the use of everyday objects include learning to change the position of the body, reaching for objects, moving around the bed, changing from the trolley to the toilet, sitting down, getting up and walking
- special techniques that teach movement, coordination, stabilizing, relaxing, mobilizing, and relieving pain, including: manual resistance (provides information on the direction, sequence and speed of movement), traction (stretching the muscles to prepare them for movement ), compression (improved stabilization and deep feeling), stretching (stimulating muscles to contract), rhythmic stimulation of movement (facilitating) and a combination of isotonic contractions (improving coordination of movements)
PNF - indications
The PNF method is dedicated to patients with problems:
- orthopedic - after injuries of bones, joints and soft tissues, after endoprostheses implantation, after arthroscopy and reconstructive procedures, sports injuries, amputations. PNF therapy is recommended for correcting posture defects, such as scoliosis, deformities of the chest and feet
- neurological - after strokes, craniocerebral and spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ataxia, cerebellar diseases, polyneuropathies, Parkinson's disease, disorders after neurosurgical procedures and disorders of vegetative functions, i.e. breathing and swallowing. PNF is also good for neuralgia, cerebral palsy and for meningeal hernia
- PNF treats gait and balance disorders for various reasons
- PNF is helpful in combating muscle disorders, e.g. in the case of a deficit in muscle strength and mass, in inflammation and dystrophies, and in problems with the spine (e.g. pain,discopathy)
PNF - advantages
The biggest advantage of the PNF method is the fact that the patient is the partner of the physiotherapist and he or she determines the scope and boundaries of the activity. He also sets the goals of therapy himself, and thus decides about the course of rehabilitation. The therapist is a counselor, which translates into better cooperation.
Another advantage is that the therapy starts with a he althy part of the body, away from the site of damage. This allows you to believe that the improvement of the functions of, for example, the hand will not be associated with the feeling of pain.
It is also important that in order to practice in accordance with the principles of the PNF method, you do not need to have specialized equipment. You can practice using everyday objects.
The PNF rehabilitation method is painless, which translates into greater patient involvement in the correctness of exercise.About the authorAnna Jarosz A journalist who has been involved in popularizing he alth education for over 40 years. Winner of many competitions for journalists dealing with medicine and he alth. She received, among others The "Golden OTIS" Trust Award in the "Media and He alth" category, St. Kamil awarded on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, twice the "Crystal Pen" in the national competition for journalists promoting he alth, and many awards and distinctions in competitions for the "Medical Journalist of the Year" organized by the Polish Association of Journalists for He alth.
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