Our expert providers can help you regain function and manage symptoms from a neurologic condition such as stroke, spinal cord or brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease. You’ll find:
- Specialists who work together to develop care for your specific needs.
- A broad array of therapies to improve your function and quality of life.
- Evidence-based treatments and advanced technologies to help you make the best recovery possible.
- A facial rehabilitation specialist for conditions including stroke, Bell’s palsy and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
At OHSU Rehabilitation Services, we understand illnesses and injuries that affect the nervous system — your brain, spinal cord and nerves. Your doctors and therapists work together, often at clinics for your specific condition. Your team may include:
- Neurologist, a doctor specializing in the brain and nervous system
- Physiatrist, a doctor who specializes in soft tissue injury and rehabilitation
- Rehabilitation nurse
- Psychologist or psychiatrist
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Speech-language pathologist
Conditions we can help with
Our occupational, physical and speech-language therapists help with many conditions, including:
- Stroke, brain bleeding or swelling, or other blood vessel disorders (see our Stroke Rehabilitation page)
- Infections such as meningitis, encephalitis or post-polio syndrome
- Brain, head or spinal cord injury
- Brain and spinal cord tumors
- Nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy)
- Headache, seizure disorders, dizziness and neuralgia
- Other neurologic conditions, including Parkinson’s disease (see our Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation page), multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophies and Guillain-Barré syndrome
Why is neurologic rehabilitation important?
Neurologic rehabilitation can reduce disability and increase independence and well-being, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
- Studies show the brain can make new connections after injury.
- After a stroke or traumatic brain injury, exercise programs and rehabilitation training can help you regain abilities or compensate for lost function.
Many neuromuscular diseases, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, get worse over time. Neurologic rehabilitation can:
- Help you make the most of your abilities.
- Sometimes delay symptoms.
- Extend your independence.
- Help you maintain your quality of life.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease, affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It worsens over time. As nerve cells die, the brain can no longer control muscles. ALS is not curable, but therapies can help you manage symptoms and maintain as much independence as possible.
Physical therapy: Physical therapists can help keep you moving, on your own or with aids such as a wheelchair.
Occupational therapy: Therapists can help you stay independent longer by changing your environment. You can add devices to do things such as open and close doors, use the phone or turn on lights.
Speech therapy: Speech pathologists help with speaking and writing. They can help you communicate using devices such as picture boards or computers.
Learn more about OHSU treatment for ALS.
Our physical, occupational and speech-language therapists offer integrated care for adults with cerebral palsy. We focus on protecting your independence and well-being. We can help you:
- Exercise safely
- Manage pain
- Conserve energy and avoid fatigue
- Find and learn to use mobility and communication aids
- Set up your home or workplace for ideal use
- Find resources to increase independence
Stroke, concussion, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurologic disorders can affect how you think and interact with others. If thinking difficulties make it hard for you to communicate, our speech-language pathologists can help.
We help you improve your thinking skills so you can talk, read, write, interpret gestures, express yourself and understand others.
We design training programs to help you:
- Improve your memory
- Increase your attention span
- Process information more quickly
- Plan and sequence
- Find the right word
- Speak more clearly
- Understand what others are saying
- Organize your thoughts
- Become more self-aware
- Increase your independence
We also treat cancer patients for “chemo brain,” the foggy thinking that can be a side effect of chemotherapy and sometimes other cancer treatments.
Occupational therapist Marisa Palandri is the only certified driving rehabilitation specialist doing screening in the Portland area.
She does a clinical screening that includes looking at:
- Cognition (thinking)
- Reaction times
- Physical skills
She also educates patients and caregivers about follow-up options. She can make recommendations that include to stop driving, to seek further evaluation, or to get training before returning to driving.
Signs that a driving evaluation can help:
- Getting lost while driving
- Memory loss
- Reacting slowly to emergencies
- Poor judgment (for example, having trouble deciding when to yield right-of-way or when to safely make a left turn without a light)
This therapy, used in stroke rehabilitation, teaches you how to do complex arm and leg movements using problem-solving skills. Read more on our Stroke Rehabilitation page.
The Lokomat is a machine that supports you as you relearn or improve walking skills. You are supported in a harness over a treadmill, and your legs are attached to robotic legs that help you walk in a natural pattern. This helps your brain and spinal cord work together to reroute nerve signals damaged by injury or illness.
The system may be used for patients with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or brain or spinal cord injuries. Our skilled physical therapists often combine Lokomat sessions with other treatments such as high-intensity task training for the most benefit.
Our physical, occupational and speech therapists can help you stay independent, manage symptoms and improve your quality of life by:
- Creating an exercise program to help you strengthen muscles and increase endurance. Your program might include electrical stimulation of weakened muscles and help using a cane, brace, walker or wheelchair.
- Helping you increase coordination, and finger and hand strength.
- Helping you with speaking, memory and concentration.
- Helping you adjust your home and work spaces so you can safely and more easily get around and do daily tasks.
- Involving your family in your care.
Learn more about OHSU care for multiple sclerosis.
Your occupational therapist will thoroughly assess your physical and mental condition. The therapist will identify the activities that are important to you and work with you on a custom treatment plan. Treatments and services might include:
- Guided exercises (neuromuscular re-education) to improve your coordination, balance posture and body awareness (knowing where your body is in space).
- Exercises and splinting to manage pain, and stiff and contracted muscles (spasticity), or to increase range of motion.
- Help you regain skills or learn new ways to do daily activities including grooming, bathing, eating, making meals, writing, using a computer and housekeeping.
- Therapy to address low vision.
- Home safety evaluations.
The ReWalk is a wearable robotic structure, like an exoskeleton, that enables people with some spinal cord injuries to stand, turn, walk and climb stairs. OHSU is Oregon’s only ReWalk training center. In therapy, ReWalk improves mobility and motor skill, and reduces stiffness. At home, people use it to move, climb stairs and stand at social gatherings.
OHSU’s collaborative spinal cord injury team aims to make you as independent as possible. We offer advanced equipment such as:
- The ReWalk (see above)
- The Lokomat (see above)
- A functional electrical stimulation bike. An FES bike is stationary and uses electrical pulses to help people with paralysis pedal. This helps them actively work muscles.
Other services include:
- “Transfer training,” or how to get in and out of the shower, chairs and cars with or without a device such as a cane or wheelchair.
- Help walking with or without an assistive device.
- Helping you regain the ability to do daily activities.
- Strength and balance training.
- Teaching you advanced wheelchair skills.
- Caregiver training.
Our therapists are experts at treating recent or long-term dizziness. They will work to retrain your brain to recognize and coordinate signals from your inner ear with information from your eyes, muscles and joints. Services include:
- A thorough evaluation.
- Access to the latest balance testing and training technology.
- A treatment program tailored to your needs.
- Frequent follow-up with your doctor to report progress.
Conditions we treat include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: This is the most common type of vertigo (spinning sensation).
- Meniere’s disease: This condition of the inner ear can cause dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Post-concussion syndrome: This condition can come with vertigo and trouble balancing.
- Vestibular neuritis: This is inflammation of the vestibular nerve of the inner ear. It is also called vestibular labyrinthitis or vestibular neuronitis.
Learn more: Vestibular Disorders Association or VeDa
Other OHSU services
Call 503-494-3151 to:
- Make an appointment
- Seek a second opinion
- Ask questions
Center for Health & Healing, Building 1, first floor
3303 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Center for Women’s Health, Marquam Hill
Kohler Pavilion, seventh floor
800 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239
OHSU Orthopaedics Clinic, Beaverton
15700 S.W. Greystone Court
Beaverton, OR 97006
Refer a patient
- Refer your patient to OHSU.
- Call 503-494-4567 to seek provider-to-provider advice.