Guillain-Barré Syndrome

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a very rare and serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerves in the peripheral nervous system. The condition is treatable, and many people will make a full recovery however some people can be left with long-term problems. Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles, muscular weakness, pain and problems with balance and co-ordination. These symptoms can lead to more serious problems with breathing, walking, moving and swallowing and can be fatal if not treated promptly.


The cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome is unknown but it is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system whereby it attacks the nerves instead of germs that get into the body. The condition can affect people of all ages but is more likely to occur in older people. Infections that are known to have been a trigger for the illness include: food poisoning; flu; cytomegalovirus; glandular fever; HIV; and travel infections such as dengue and the Zika virus. Other possible triggers include surgery, an injury and medical procedures like a bone marrow transplant.


Treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome can reduce symptoms and speed up the recovery process. There are a number of treatment options and these include; plasma exchange; intravenous immunoglobulin; occupational therapy; and physiotherapy. You may also be given medication to relieve pain and reduce the possibility of bloody clots occurring if you are immobile.

Our Approach

At Flex Health, our focus will be on keeping you moving and functioning following your diagnosis. We want to keep your muscles strong and flexible, while also reducing pain. Once you access our service, you will be invited to a comprehensive assessment where we will identify a person-specific treatment plan based on your goals for your recovery. Our team of highly experienced rehabilitators will work with you, your family and any carers to ensure that we are working towards the common goal of supporting you back to optimum function.

You will receive a combination of manual therapy, such as massage and physical therapy which will look at muscle strengthening and how you can be as independent as possible after your diagnosis. We understand how important being self-sufficient is, and your dedicated therapist will work closely with you to identify areas that we can maximise on together.

Recovery and optimal functioning are our highest priority, so when you work with our team you can be sure that your needs will be taken into account as we tackle the effects of your condition together.


Will physiotherapy still help if I am unable to move?

Yes! Our team are able to manually move you in order to maintain muscle definition and keep you moving. You will also have access to our state-of-the-art rehabilitation technology, with items like the FES Bike able to stimulate muscles and produce movement.

Where will my treatment take place?

Your treatment can take place both in your home and at our facility. On-site at Flex Health you will have access to the latest rehabilitation technology however, we are also able to bring some of that equipment to you.

What will my treatment involve?

Your treatment will involve a combination of manual therapy such as massage, and physical therapy. This could mean using some of our equipment or practising functional movements.

What equipment will I be using?

At our facility, you will have access to the latest rehabilitation technology. This includes:

FES cycle •
Anti-gravity treadmill •
Vertimax machine •
Exercise-assisted hoist •

Do I need a referral?

At Flex Health, we will take referrals from doctors and self-referrals, so if you are interested in finding out more about how we might be able to support you then please call us on 01482 966 006.