Why Choose a Neurological Physiotherapist?


The most commonly known type of physiotherapy intervention is General or Orthopedic.  A specific body part is treated (ex. frozen shoulder, low back pain, and sprained ankle).  Treatment often consists of ice or heat, the use of a treatment modality such as ultrasound or laser, and mobilizing and/or strengthening activities with a home exercise program.  Most general therapists do not usually evaluate the whole body to determine the source or root problem.

The Neurological Physiotherapist treats people who have sustained an injury to or have a disease of the brain or central nervous system – such as:

  • Traumatic or acquired brain/head injury

  • Stroke

  • Balance disorders

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Other neurological conditions/diseases (incl. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy)

These neurological conditions are complex and affect the whole person – physically, emotionally, and cognitively.

In addition to the standard physiotherapy qualification, a Neurological Physiotherapist has specific knowledge, training and experience in:

  • Neurological conditions

  • The way the brain and central nervous system work and influence other systems of the body

  • Normal postural alignment, movement and balance

  • Bobath concept and/or neuro-developmental techniques (NDT)

  • Myofascial release techniques

  • Vestibular rehabilitation

  • Visual rehabilitation (as it pertains to movement)

  • Proprioceptive neuro-facilitation therapy (PNF)

Normal muscle tone and fascial tissue allows us to move freely and automatically without effort or thought.  Following a neurological injury such as a brain injury or stroke, tone may be increased to decreased making initiation of movement effortful or impossible.  The neurological condition/injury may also cause abnormal alignments of and movement patterns that cause pain, and interfere with balance and mobility.

A Neurological Physiotherapist is able to see and feel these problems and provides hands-on treatment rather than the modality-based interventions of a general physiotherapist.  This hands-on treatment facilitates input to the brain and central nervous system to normalize tone, release tight fascia and re-establish more normal patterns of movement.  This can be viewed as the therapist’s hands” talking to the brain” to change what is abnormal to more normal and automatic functioning (i.e. seeking to enhance neuroplasticity).

As with all interventions with serious catastrophic injuries, neurological physiotherapy requires long-term intervention and supports an inter-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation.

Nicole RitonjaComment