HSPer regaining lost mobility

Intensive neurological physiotherapy helps


Adam with dad Joe

Adam Hewber has simple goals: to live as independently as possible, undertake meaningful work and walk on the beach with his dad again.


He has already achieved the first two and is not far away from the third, thanks to a tough work ethic and a program of innovative neurological physiotherapy.

The 43-year-old from the southern Perth suburb of Palmyra was born with a rare neurological condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia, which affects how his brain communicates with his muscles, particularly in his legs.

If he does not keep exercising, he rapidly loses his physical skills like standing or being able to move himself from his wheelchair to a chair.

He has had two devastating incidents in which he lost his ability to walk – the first after his father and primary carer, Joe Hewber, had a heart attack in 2010 and the most recent last year after a serious illness.

Adam and physio Teoh

But after intensive personal training and a neurological physiotherapy regime at disability services organisation Rocky Bay this year, he can now walk up to 80 metres at a time.

The uphill battle of learning to walk again

Mr Hewber has been using electrical stimulation therapy, where electrodes are placed on his legs and buttocks to stimulate the weight-bearing muscles required for walking, and blood-flow restriction training, which he used to improve his muscle strength.

His physiotherapist, Zhao Teoh, said his progress was an extraordinary achievement, especially considering Mr Hewber was at an age when most people started to lose muscle mass. “The fact that Adam lost his mobility, where he couldn’t stand at the beginning of the year and that he is now able to walk again is really quite remarkable.”

Mr Hewber was also impressed with the results of his hard work. “As you get older, it gets harder to bounce back and I surprised myself, as well as the therapists, because I was just able to do stuff I wasn’t able to do the week before,” he said.

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Determination and intensive neurological therapy is helping Adam Hewber walk, again

First posted Sun Sep 1, 2019 8:55am AEST By Rebecca Turner

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