Brain & Nervous System

Brain & Nervous System

Brain and Nervous System

BrainOur nervous systems are extremely complicated. The brain has been likened to a central computer with a vast, complicated network of wiring (the nervous system). The brain works at lightening speed making infinite decisions that affect the outcome of everything we do. It allows us to breathe, feel, talk, learn and remember, and enables us to move our bones and muscles in complicated yet coordinated ways. The brain allows us to perform all of these things and more, often without any conscious effort on our part, and even while we are asleep.

Unfortunately such an amazing, complex system can go wrong. Damage can happen to the brain and nervous system before, during and after birth. Specialised Paediatric Physiotherapists can help when damage occurs by helping the brain learn or relearn patterns of movement.

Some of the children’s conditions treated by physiotherapists include:

Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI)

also referred to as traumatic head injuries (HI) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are injuries to the brain caused by the head being hit by something or shaken violently. The signs of head injury can be very different depending on which part of the brain has been injured and how severely. They can change how the person acts, moves and thinks. (Read more)

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

is a condition primarily affecting a child’s motor development. It is caused by damage to the brain before, during or shortly after birth. (Read more)

Meningitis and Encephalitis

are inflammatory conditions, usually caused by bacteria or viruses, which damage the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is the inflammation of the coverings (‘meninges’) of the brain and spinal cord. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue itself.


is a neurological disorder where the child’s brain is much smaller than normal for an infant of the same age and sex. Microcephaly may be associated with other conditions or syndromes. Children with microcephaly may have learning difficulties and delayed development.

Spina Bifida

is a condition affecting the formation of a developing baby’s spine. There are different types of spina bifida, with about 75% called ‘Myelomeningocele’. The backbone does not completely form before birth, causing the spinal cord to push out to form a little sac in the baby’s back. This causes a reduction or loss of sensation and motor control, and therefore function, of the parts of the body controlled from or below the defect.

Spinal Cord Injury

is caused by damage to the spinal cord. It can be caused from a direct injury to the cord itself or from an indirect injury from damage to the bones, soft tissues, and blood vessels surrounding the spinal cord. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. The main problem is weakness of muscles and loss of sensation at and below the level of the injury.


There are a vast number of syndromes, many still un-recognised or un-named that affect the nervous system. Some of the syndromes seen by Paediatric Physiotherapists at KidsPhysio include: Aicardi syndrome, Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, , Downs Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Rett Syndrome.


is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. Dyspraxia tends to be used as a general term for children with coordination difficulties, but it refers to children who have additional problems planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Whilst children with dyspraxia have no clinical neurological abnormality to explain their condition, current research suggests that it is due to an immaturity of neurone development in the brain. (Read more)