Neurologic & Stroke Rehabilitation - Milwaukee, WI - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Neuro & Stroke Rehabilitation

When you or a loved one experience an neurological condition or suffer a stroke that limits your ability to function or live independently, we can help you reclaim as much of your life as possible.

Balance & Dizziness

Wheaton Franciscan Rehabilitation Services offers a comprehensive approach to dizziness and balance problems. Our caring experts begin with a thorough evaluation of your problem and your overall physical status. We develop a personal treatment plan that may include:

  • Exercise
  • Joint and soft tissue mobilization
  • Use of hot packs and cold packs
  • Nuscular re-education
  • Or other treatment approaches

We use the latest technology, including the computerized Balance Master system (available at multiple locations) for initial assessment and continuing measurement of progress during balance retraining.

Recognizing Balance Problems

Balance is vital to normal, everyday life activities. Just about everything you do requires balance control, which depends on coordinated work by the eyes, feet, and inner ear motion sensors.

These systems must all work correctly and work well together in order to create the balance that makes life’s tasks possible and enjoyable. Sometimes there are problems with these systems, resulting in dizziness and loss of balance. These are frightening and frustrating symptoms. These problems rob individuals of their confidence and can lead to falls and fractures.

Each year, more than one-third of people over age 65 experience a fall. For an older adult, the consequences of a fall can be devastating, resulting in events like broken hips, which require permanent changes in lifestyle and activity patterns.

It is important to know that dizziness and loss of balance are not just a part of growing older. These symptoms have specific causes, and they can be treated successfully.

Signs of Balance Disorders

The first step is recognizing that you may have a problem. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you fallen more than once in the past year?
  • Do you feel dizzy or unsteady if you make sudden changes in movement, such as bending down or turning quickly?
  • Do you have blackouts or seizures?
  • Do you experience numbness or loss of sensation in your legs and/or feet?
  • Do you feel unsteady when you walk or climb stairs?
  • Do you have difficulty sitting down or rising from a seated or lying position?
  • Do you have periods of dizziness for no apparent reason?

How to Get Help

If you said yes to one or more of the questions above or have other reasons to believe you may have a balance or dizziness problem, you should talk to your doctor. There may be factors in your recent medical history, such as a disorder, disease, period of inactivity, or new medication that may account for feelings of dizziness and unsteadiness.

If the problem persists, you may be referred to a balance specialist. Over the past few years, great strides have been made in the assessment of balance and dizziness problems. A balance specialist can evaluate the sensory and motor parts of your balance system. The tests will help define the cause of your balance problem and assist in the development of a customized treatment approach. A variety of therapy techniques are used to train and strengthen the balance system, so you can return to the activities you love with no fear of falling.

Locations of Care

Fall Prevention

Do you know what the sixth leading cause of death is in people over 65 or in women over 85? Do you know the reason why so many people live in nursing homes and why a quarter of aging adults are hospitalized? The answer is falls.

Your biggest health risk might be something you never worry about, but it can be costly. It is estimated that by 2020 the costs associated with falls among people over 65 will be approximately $32 billion annually.

A Solution that Works

In 2003, the caring professionals of Wheaton Franciscan Home Health and Wheaton Franciscan Performance Centers learned about a simple exercise program with proven results in preventing falls in older adults.

The program, which originated in New Zealand, has been effective in reducing by 35% the number of falls and injuries resulting from falls. The program works equally well for men and women. In terms of the number of all injuries prevented, the program has the greatest benefit for those in the highest risk groups: those over 80 years of age and those with a previous history of falls.

Program Details

The Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Fall Prevention Program is currently offered to home-bound individuals in their homes and to independent older adults on an outpatient basis at many convenient locations.

Individuals considered at risk for falls are carefully screened, and a physician order is needed. You must be willing and able to follow directions. Once all criteria are met, a specially trained physical therapist teaches you a series of simple exercises designed to improve strength and balance; the program is not intended to be self-taught. Normally, the course is taught in six sessions, and you are asked to exercise and walk regularly between and following the sessions.

Participants report that the Fall Prevention Program is enjoyable and increased their sense of fitness and well being. Even more important, the Fall Prevention Program is something you can do for yourself to decrease health risks and improve your quality of life.

The Wheaton Franciscan Fall Prevention Program accepts Medicare, private insurance and private pay.

To Learn More

If you think you may be interested in the Wheaton Franciscan Fall Prevention Program, talk to your doctor. The program is offered in the home for qualifying homebound individuals, through Wheaton Franciscan Home Health, throughout the seven-county service area. Independent older adults may participate on an outpatient basis at one of our Performance Centers.

Locations of Care

  • Brown Deer
  • Brookfield
    • Elmbrook Medical Arts Pavillion
  • Franklin
    • Rawson Avenue
    • Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - Franklin
  • Milwaukee
    • Layton Avenue
    • St. Francis Medical Arts Pavillion
    • Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis
    • Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph Campus
  • Racine
    • Site 1
  • Sussex
  • Wauwatosa


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a multi-factorial disease which involves both physical and psychological factors. FMS is characterized by widespread pain and muscle tenderness, but can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Individuals affected typically have persistent pain that lasts for at least 3 months in several different areas of the body.

Affected areas include neck and upper or middle back.

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed

There are classification criteria which were established by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990:

  • History of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months
  • Pain in at least 11 of the 18 designated tender points when a specified amount of pressure is applied
  • New diagnostic criteria established in 2010 now focuses on widespread pain that is accompanied by symptoms such as sleep disorders, problem with thinking clearly and fatigue

Physician/MD Role

Individuals with FMS typically look healthy and conventional tests are typically normal, therefore a physician who is knowledgeable about the disorder is essential in the diagnosis of FMS.

Physicians will help rule out other causes of the symptoms before diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy

Physical or occupational therapy is often useful to help ease fibromyalgia pain and to teach self-management skills through the following techniques:

  • Improve mobility and relieve pain through graded exercise program facilitating stretching and strengthening exercises specific to each patient. Use of pain education (therapeutic neuromatrix education) in order to take control of both physical and psychological influences on pain.
  • Prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities
  • Manage trigger points through techniques such as:
    • Manual therapy
    • Dry needling
    • Other modalities

Therapists will work one-on-one with patients in order to help restore overall fitness and health.

Headache Relief

Wheaton Franciscan Rehabilitation Services Headache Program offers treatment and education in the management of headaches. We provide techniques to increase body awareness and its effect on your headaches. This knowledge can help decrease headache duration, frequency and intensity.

The program is multidisciplinary with physical therapists and occupational therapists. Manual skills and high tech equipment are used to assist you in self management of headache pain.

Our Services

  • Postural assessment with individualized recommendations
  • Exercise routines
  • Acupressure education
  • Biofeedback training
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Aerobic exercise recommendations

A referral from your doctor, nurse practitioner, chiropractor or dentist is required to initiate care. Our insurance consultant will process your benefits prior to initiating services.

Stroke Support Group

Our free Stroke Support Group meets at Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph Campus on the 2nd Thursday of every month from 10 am - 12 pm.

No registration is required. Call 414-447-2906 for more information.

For More Information

For further information or to make a referral, please call us at one of our convenient outpatient rehabilitation services locations.

Care Locations