The body’s nervous system is a highly complex and extremely sophisticated part of the body that is responsible for the regulation and control of all functions. If an issue occurs, one may experience numerous complications.

Examples include complications in moving, issues swallowing, trouble breathing, cognitive issues, mood fluctuations, and even adverse reactions with the senses.

An illness, disease, or injury that is neurological-based requires neurological physical therapy.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about this branch of physical therapy and what the career entails.

Parts of the Brain

The Neurological Specialist Certification

In order to enter the field of neurological physical therapy, you must be a licensed physical therapist and obtain a certificate of completion stating that you have advanced levels of clinical knowledge, hands-on experience, and specific skills within a neurological-based practice. Specifically, the following must be completed:

  1. Once you become a licensed physical therapist, you must complete at or over 2,000 hours of practice in a neurological clinic and working with patients that have some degree of neurological dysfunction.
  2. You must display a high level of knowledge and competency in the area of patient care, the education of patients, the interpretation associated with field-related research, administrative tasks, and finally, consultation.
  3. You must pass the test known as the “Neurological Clinical Specialist Examination”.
  4. Finally, you must obtain the certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties for Neurologic Physical Therapy.

Why are Neurological Physical Therapy Services Needed?

If a patient has suffered from neurological-based illnesses, diseases, and/or injuries, it is critical that they receive physical therapy/rehabilitation services. Failure to do so could result in the loss of essential bodily functions.

When a person loses their ability to function properly, it leads to decreased levels of activity. This – in turn – could lead to serious problems with the heart, the lungs, and even the onset of serious illnesses such as diabetes.

A patient may be unable to engage in certain activities, may not be able to care for themselves, and could lose their independence.

Neurologic physical therapy helps restore function and reduce a patient’s risk for further complications.

What Types of Issues Could Your Patients Experience?

As a neurologic physical therapy, you will specialize in the comprehensive evaluation and detailed treatment of patients that suffer from movement complications that are directly related to the injury and/or disease of some component of the nervous system.

You may work with patients that have Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and/or Parkinson’s disease.

You may help those that have an injury of the brain and/or spinal cord. You are also likely to assist those that have suffered from a stroke or suffer from one of the many types of dementia.

There are different types of injuries, body infections, degenerative-based disease, defects in structure, tumors, and circulatory problems that may result in issues.

You will work with patients that have had any issue that results in the impairment of the nervous system.


What Does Neurological Physical Therapy Entail?

As a neurological physical therapist, your goal is to help patients that you work with to return to the absolute highest level of functionality and independence that is possible for their unique situation. The following outlines some of the tasks that this form of therapy may entail:

  • You may have to help patients learn to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). Examples include dressing, being able to bathe, and toileting.
  • You will have to assist the patient in improving their mobility. This involves helping them work through movements and exercises that aid in maintaining control over the muscles, optimizing the gait, and improving the balance.
  • Many patients will experience weakness and pain as a result of the neurological issue that they suffer. You will help them strengthen their body and naturally reduce their pain levels.
  • You may have to help your patients obtain assistive devices and teach them how to use those devices so that they may remain independent for as long as possible.
  • In many instances, you may have to help in referrals to other types of specialists that may help a patient recover. Examples include speech therapists, nutritional specialists, mental health professionals, and vocational counselors.

Support at Its Best

As a neurological physical therapist, you will provide the highest and best level of support for patients. You will utilize the most advanced treatments and assistive-based technologies to improve the quality of life for those that you serve. This will allow each of your patients to engage in highly meaningful and purposeful activities that are associated with their daily life. Today, you can connect with other specialists and establish a solid network of supporters for the patients that you serve.

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