someone who needs neurological physical therapy

This last month in our social media we focused on Neurological Physical Therapy. A Neuro Physical Therapist is a therapist that treats movement problems from damage to the nervous system. Common impairments Neuro PTs work with are balance, sensation, tone, performing daily tasks, walking, and vision. A neuro physical therapist can help improve function, decrease risk of falls, and teach more efficient patterns of movement.

5 Conditions that would Benefit from Neurological Physical Therapy

We focused on 5 Neurological conditions that would benefit from physical therapy. They are: Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Traumatic Brain Injury, and Spinal Cord Injury. Each of these conditions can benefit greatly from focused physical therapy. Here’s how–


A stroke is when there is a disruption in the blood supply to the brain. This changes the blood supply and affects how much vital oxygen reaches our brain cells. This is detrimental because it leads to cell death if the disruption lasts too long.

►How PT can help: After a stroke, patients can present with different deficits depending on what area in the brain was affected. Commonly people who had a stroke have difficulty moving and/or feeling one side of their body, experience cognitive changes, and lose mobility and function. Through physical therapy, people who have had a stroke can regain some of what they lost. With stroke rehabilitation, the sooner someone starts physical therapy, the better, and patients typically see more improvements in function. However people with past strokes have potential to continue to improve too! 

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is another neurodegenerative disease we wanted to touch on.  MS is an abnormal immune response that affects the nerves of the central nervous system. Our nerves are covered in a sheath of fatty tissue, called myelin, that supports the nerves and increases conductivity of the nerves. In MS nerves start to lose this myelin covering and symptoms reflect which nerves are affected. Common symptoms include fatigue, vision changes, difficulty walking, feeling off balance or falling, spasticity, cognitive changes, bowel changes, numbness and tingling, among other things.

►How PT can help: Physical Therapy can help individuals with MS gain and maintain optimal function, improve safety, educate, and promote independence. During treatment the focus is on balance, gait, posture, strength, and preventing complications that might limit our function or quality of life. 

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the dopaminergic pathways in the brain. When most people hear Parkinson’s they think about tremors. However there are 3 common presentations of PD: Dyskinesia, which is involuntary muscle movement, Tremor Dominant, and Postural Instability and Gait. This is where we see freezing in gait and  frequent falls. People can have factors of all of these phenotypes but generally one is dominant. Treatment approach PTs take is based on a patient’s individualized presentation and symptoms.

There are also cognitive changes that accompany Parkinson’s Disease as well. It can affect a person’s memory, mood, and attention and each presentation has typical cognitive changes that are more common.

►How PT can help: Therapy can help people with Parkinson’s gain strength, require less attention to perform motor tasks, decrease risk of falling, caregiver training, and maintain function. Fatigue and stress will cause Parkinson’s symptoms to worsen. In therapy we work on training strength and automaticity of tasks in a safe, comfortable environment to reduce the effects of stress and fatigue induced symptoms in real life. The key is to OVERTRAIN!

Traumatic Brain Injury

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is when damage to the brain occurs, usually by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head or a penetrating wound to the brain. TBI’s can range from mild to fatal. A mild TBI is also known as a concussion. Someone who has had a TBI can present with a wide range of symptoms including but not limited to visual changes, difficulty with memory processing and formation, changes in movement and sensation, emotional/personality changes, and attention deficits. 

►How PT can help: Physical Therapy can help by focusing the brain’s relearning processes, teaching compensatory strategies if there is permanent damage to the brain. Outpatient PT helps by maintaining or enhancing recovery for those who have been hospitalized and addressing issues in those who were not hospitalized or were not diagnosed with a TBI. In addition, athletes that have had a concussion can benefit from physical therapy in order to safely return to their sport.

Spinal Cord Injury

A Spinal Cord Injury occurs when there is traumatic or nontraumatic injury to the spinal cord. Traumatic injuries are due to a physical force such as a car accident or sports injury. Non traumatic SCI come from things like a tumor, infection, stroke or disease. Spinal cord injuries can affect sensation, movement, bowel and bladder function, organ function, and sexual function. Depending on the level and severity of injury, people can present differently. 

►How PT can help: Most of the recovery from a SCI takes place in the first year after the injury, but some people continue to see improvements after that. Recovery is dependent on many factors like your age, severity of injury, comorbidities and time and effort spent on rehabilitation. Physical therapy can help with both regaining function and learning how to function with a SCI. In addition, people who have SCIs commonly have overuse injuries later. This is due to compensatory strategies and unique movement patterns. 


These are just a few of the conditions that can benefit from Neurological Physical Therapy. Do you, or someone you know struggle with any of these? We’d love to chat. Our physical therapist, Maddie, loves working with patients who could use neurological physical therapy!

If you’re not sure if physical therapy is right for you, go through this Neuro PT checklist and/or give us a call. We would love to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs and if we’re a good fit for you!

(541) 306-1099


What our clients say…

I highly recommend Resolve PT. I learned about Resolve through one of the online seminars they offered in 2020. The seminar was informative and accessible; I felt like the team could really benefit me in managing chronic neck pain, headaches, TMJ symptoms, and more. It was a good instinct on my part: I’m so pleased with the expertise, quality of care, attention, personalization, and warm environment. Jenny listened carefully and utilized our time together so well. I thought for sure the appointment had extended well past the allotted time because of how much we accomplished in an hour. I’ll return as soon as I can!” – Courtney C.