The Role of the Physical Therapist on the Neuro-Rehabilitation Team

  • Kristen MurrayEmail author
  • Nicole Aquino
  • Julianne Nugent


A physical therapist (PT) in a neuro-rehabilitation population is one who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of individuals with movement problems due to disease or injury of the nervous system in which the goal is to aid in recovery, minimize, and/or compensate for any residual functional alterations or deficits.

Unlike orthopedic injuries, neurological insult or injury can result in total body or global functional deficits. It is imperative for a neurologic PT to be able to perform a comprehensive clinical examination which includes review of past medical history (PMH), subjective reports, balance, transfer ability, gait, strength, range of motion (ROM), muscle tone, coordination, vision, vestibular, proprioceptive, posture, deep tendon reflexes (DTR), sensation and safety awareness. The PT must also consider any comorbidities, client age, and prior level of function. With the information obtained from the examination and evaluation, the PT will develop a customized and individualized plan of care, addressing and prioritizing the most debilitating deficits in a systematic and logical manner.

There is no “one-size fits all” recovery protocol for neurological injuries such as cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), aneurysm ruptures, or anoxic injuries like there would be for a total hip replacement. Although individuals who suffer a neurological injury can present with similar deficits such as pyramidal strength imbalances, it is the role of the PT to determine exactly how these deficits will affect the individual and the best approach to address them.


Vestibular Synergy Balance Gait Spasticity Strength Falls Coordination Physical therapy Hemiparetic 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen Murray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole Aquino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julianne Nugent
    • 1
  1. 1.Transitions of Long IslandNorthwell HealthManhassetUSA
  2. 2.South Shore Neurologic AssociatesPatchogueUSA

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