Music therapy and neurological disorders

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"I arrived in hospital unconscious and walked out singing."

People living with a neurological disorder commonly experience paralysis, muscle weakness, poor coordination, loss of sensation, seizures, confusion and pain. People living with long-term chronic neurological disability may experience social isolation, traumatic life changes and communication impairment in addition to their physical disability.

The most common causes include:

  • stroke (450,000 people in the UK today are severely disabled as a result of a stroke)
  • traumatic brain injury from traffic accidents and other causes (120,000 people in the UK today live with severe brain damage cause by injury)
  • progressive illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis
  • seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • infections and tumours

Music can help in the immediate aftermath of an injury (during rehabilitation) or in the long term management of a permanent disability.

Potential benefits for patients in rehabilitation

  • Improves muscular control
  • Improves fine motor co-ordination
  • Increases sensory responsiveness
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Stimulates memory recall
  • Improves spatial orientation
  • Improves communication skills
  • Develops emotional expression
  • Provides emotional support

Potential benefits for people with long-term neurological disorders

In addition tothe above:

  • Helps regain use of parts of the body lost through neurological neglect or weakness
  • Develops new communicative strategies through vocal work
  • Provides social situations in which people can be active
  • Maintains relationships with families and friends and builds new social ties in a situation where they are on a level field with others
  • Helps adjustment to the condition by bringing the focus on to what they can do rather than what they have lost
  • Provides opportunity to experience themselves in a new way
  • Provides a setting in which skills and abilities can be maintained
  • Promotes health through maximising potential

If you’d like to speak to one of our therapists about music therapy and neurological disorders, get in touch or find out how to make a referral for you or on behalf of an organisation.