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Functional Motor Disorder - Physiotherapy Intervention

Physio for Functional Motor Disorder (FMD)?

It is a programme that aims to help people understand the diagnosis of functional motor disorders (FMD) and learn strategies to retrain their movement. The sessions are a collaboration between you and your physiotherapist. Each person is unique, therefore the programme will be tailored to your individual needs.

How often will I see my physiotherapist?

The programme consists of 9 sessions. In some cases, all 9 sessions may not be necessary. The sessions will aim to be completed in 3 weeks or less. Each session lasts around 1 hour. The programme is intensive and therefore may not be suitable for everyone. For example if your main symptoms are pain or fatigue you may not be able to tolerate the intervention. Due to this your suitability will be assessed in clinic.

Can I bring someone to the appointments?

Yes we think it is helpful if you bring someone to the first few sessions. They are welcome to attend other sessions as well. However it is usually best if they don’t attend every session.

What happens if I am unable to attend?

Please contact your physiotherapist as soon as possible to re-arrange. If you do not attend 3 sessions without letting your physiotherapist know you may be discharged.

What do I need to bring?

Wear clothes that you will be comfortable to exercise in. For example, a t-shirt, shorts or trousers that can be rolled up to the knee.

What will I be doing?

Each session is usually a combination of education and movement retraining. You will have a workbook for you to fill in some parts between sessions. During some sessions your physiotherapist may ask you to film your movement on an iPad. This is so you can look at your movement and decide what is going wrong. If you don’t wish to be filmed, that is ok.

What difference will this make to my movement problem?

Unfortunately this is not a quick fix. FMD is a real problem and if recovery was quick and easy, you would probably be better by now. We hope you will see some improvement to your movement problem, but more importantly, we hope that you learn strategies that will make a sustained difference over a longer period of time. Physiotherapy is not a ‘magic cure’ for FMD, but it can help you learn how to improve your movement problem.

What happens after the physiotherapy programme?

It is not possible or indeed useful for sessions to continue forever, therefore our aim is to help you become the expert, so that your recovery can continue whether or not you see a physiotherapist regularly. We really believe this is the best way to improve your movement problem. With help from your physiotherapist, you will complete a long term self-management plan. The aim of this is to help you learn what you need to do to maintain the benefits and continue to improve. 3 months after completing the programme, you will have a follow up session. This is an opportunity to see how things have gone, to progress your selfmanagement plan and help problem-solve any difficulties.

What happens if my movement problem does not improve?

We think it is most likely you will see an improvement. However, if the treatment doesn’t make a difference, your neurologist and the team may consider alternative treatment options.

Service Leads

Dr Jayne Martlew - Consultant Neuropsychologist

Dr Christine Burness - Consultant Neurologist

Michael Walsh - Specialist Physiotherapist

Tel: 0151 556 3510


Useful Websites: 


  • FND Hope 
  • FND Action
  • Last Updated:
    01 October 2022
  • Review Date:
    01 October 2024
  • Author:
    Michael Walsh
  • Summary:

    It is a programme that aims to help people understand the diagnosis of functional motor disorders (FMD) and learn strategies to retrain their movement.

  • Related Service:

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