NDT or Neurodevelopmental Theory and treatment is a functional approach to treating and handling clients with a neurological disorder. The approach is based on the understanding and philosophy that clients who have sustained a neurological insult have the ability to improve their posture and movement over a long and sustained period of time. This in turn leads to better positioning, breathing, improved functional mobility and a better quality of care.
Alignment of your body is vital to the execution of normal, functional movement. In order to have good alignment and posture, you must re-establish or re-set your body’s biomechanical alignment. This includes:
- Which muscles are lengthened/shortened?
- Which non-contractile tissues (joints, ligaments) are tight/lax?
- A normal length-tension muscle relationship must be re-established
Therapists trained to provide NDT based treatment programs are able to offer extensive hands-on direct treatment programs in order to address and prevent overstretching of tissues/ligaments, guide soft tissue work, and abate the possibility of further dysfunction! As an NDT trained therapist you believe “The sooner you identify the problem, the sooner you can treat it!”
Treatment must be aimed at improving trunk stability and mobility with the ability to maintain a balance between flexion and extension. The need to maintain balance and to keep the rib cage stable will improve breathing and lung function vital to a recovering individuals overall health and well-being. Control at the trunk results in increased overall potential as seen by improved function of the arms, better quality walking, overall confidence in mobility, better voice quality and improved quality of respirations.
When providing a client with Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), it is important to remember that normal function is an option! With an emphasis on early intervention from all disciplines who each develop and establish a baseline for how a client will perform a function, a recovery plan of care is established. With the introduction of normal movement patterns from the beginning of the injury and by putting tasks into the context of function with select, appropriate feedback to achieve carryover, recovery of function is attainable!
Gerilyn M. Gault, BSPT, is co-owner of the rehabilitation company GandETherapies.com and PT Billing Specialist for bestPT. Gerilyn is an advanced neurological clinician with years of experience in professional staffing, contract and fiscal management.