What is ataxia?

Ataxia is the name given to a group of neurological disorders that affect balance, coordination, and speech. There are many different types of ataxia that can affect people in different ways.

Who gets ataxia?

Anyone of any age can get ataxia, but certain types are more common in certain age groups. For example, people with Friedreich’s ataxia are usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.

How many people have ataxia?

The ataxias are rare conditions. Estimates from recent studies say that there are at least 10,000 adults and around 500 children in the UK with a progressive ataxia.

There are many different causes for ataxia. It's important to remember that ataxia is a symptom and may occur as a result of many different underlying conditions (such as MS). It can also occur due to head trauma or intoxication. Many ataxias are inherited conditions and caused by having defects in certain genes. The most common inherited progressive ataxia is Friedreich’s ataxia. Research is ongoing to identify other genes which cause inherited cerebellar ataxias and discover how they exert their effects. However there are still many people who do not have a specific diagnosis for their inherited ataxia. These people would be diagnosed as having idiopathic cerebellar ataxia and there are many researchers focusing on finding new genes and new types of ataxias.

At TherapyMatters we work with people who have Ataxia and we help them to improve their movement control and balance - as well as to manage the functional problems that they have in their day to day lives. People with Ataxia can present with balance and strength issues, effecting their walking, stability, reaching and grasping objects, as well as their endurance and stamina. We are a skilled team of neurological physiotherapists and occupational therapists and we will be able to assess you and work with you through a rehabilitation programme to help you reach your best potential functional activity and to develop your fitness. Please phone us if you want to discuss this or have any questions to ask - we are happy to chat and we are sure that we would be able to help you with your rehabilitation.