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Medically Unexplained Neurological Symptoms

Medically unexplained symptoms occur when doctors cannot find any disease or problem with the body that can account for the person’s symptoms. These problems have been estimated to account for 1 in 5 of all GP consultations in the UK, cost the NHS 18 billion per year, and are the most expensive condition treated by the NHS.

After medical explanations have been thoroughly investigated without finding underlying pathology, the influence of the mind must be considered. Whilst the connection between the mind (brain) and the body appears obvious the influence of the mind on bodily function is often poorly understood and underplayed. Although the underlying process by which unconscious emotional phenomena cause the brain to generate physical problems is unclear the symptoms are very real for those that suffer from them. Symptoms can be experienced by people with a background of mental health problems but also by people without such a history.

There is increasing evidence for the use of psychological therapy with this client group and a recent meta-analysis reported that CBT is currently the most effective treatment for this condition (Kroenke, 2007). In addition to psychotherapy, physiotherapy and pharmacological interventions have also demonstrated some success in treatment (Stone, 2011) and it has been shown that an interdisciplinary approach combining psychological services with physiotherapy can be effective (Lin et al, 1997).

We provide a team approach which includes psychotherapy and physiotherapy to address the complex interplay between psychological and physical factors.

For further information on Medically Unexplained Neurological Symptoms or Functional Symptoms see www.neurosymptoms.org