Neurologic Physical Therapy
Here at South Shore Neurologic Therapeutics we have a different approach to physical therapy. Using traditional balance and physical therapy methods, Pilates rehabilitation principles and exercises, as well as the latest technological advances we are able to treat our patients as a whole, not just a specific injury or symptom. Each patient is individually evaluated and a personalized treatment plan is established for them and their specific needs. Here at SSNA Therapeutics we treat patients with balance instabilities, vestibular conditions, chronic pain conditions, neurologic conditions, head injuries, work related injuries, post-surgical, and many other conditions. Specializing in Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease. Our highly trained staff are here to assist you on your therapeutic journey to wellness.
Special Techniques and Programs:
- Balance Therapy
- Chronic Pain
- Gait Training
- Graston Technique – for soft tissue dysfunction
- LSVT BIG for Parkinson’s Disease
- MS Therapy
- Neurologic Physical Therapy
- Orthopedic Physical Therapy
- Rehab Pilates
- Research Studies
- Vestibular Rehabilitation
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
What is the purpose of physical therapy?
If your doctor has referred you for physical therapy, it is because they believe that a comprehensive therapy approach could help alleviate symptoms of your condition. Therapy is often the first step towards your recovery.
What should you expect?
You will have an initial evaluation to assess if and how we can help you. Your therapist will come up with a plan of care to best treat your personal symptoms. When you come for your visits, you will see either a Physical Therapy Assistant or a Physical Therapist who will implement your personalized plan, which typically involves exercises as well as manual therapy. You will be reassessed after about 10 visits to gauge your progress.
What will we expect from you?
The success of physical therapy depends not only on the quality of your therapist but also on your adherence to your personalized program. Your therapist will provide you with the tools for long term wellness.
Vestibular Physical Therapy
Our vestibular physical therapy program is a customized approach for the treatment of dizziness, vertigo, and/or balance dysfunction. Our physical therapists are trained and many have advanced certification in the assessment and treatment of vestibular disorders. Goals of Balance/Vestibular therapy intervention are returning the vestibular system to a normal functioning state and improve static and dynamic postural control in a variety of positions and movements; this may help with dizziness and loss of balance allowing the central nervous system (CNS) to compensate for vestibular loss. Patients receive extensive education to aid in self-management and return to their activities of daily living.
What are some Vestibular (Inner ear) Disorders?
The most commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis/labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of these vestibular disorders can be dizziness, lightheadedness, spinning, motion sickness, visual disturbance and feeling of being off balance. Secondary symptoms may include fatigue, headache and difficulty with concentration.
Concussion patients who suffer from these symptoms may benefit from Vestibular Therapy. One of our Physical Therapists, Dr. Nicholas Froiseth, discussed the impact concussions have on patients' Vestibular System, and how Vestibular Therapy can help treat these symptoms, while on the "Vision is More than 20/20" podcast. The episode encompassing the discussion can be listened to for free on Apple Podcasts.
How are Inner Ear/Vestibular Problems Diagnosed?
Problems are diagnosed through clinical diagnostic testing with a trained physical therapist.
The specific tests for inner ear problems include:
Video Nystagmography (VNG)
Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential (BAEP)
Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Neurological Physical Therapy
Neurological physical therapy is a form of therapy that incorporates evidence based techniques for specific diagnoses to optimize the benefits of treatment.
The types of neurological disabilities approached by this form of physical therapy might include Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Traumatic Head injuries, peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Spinal Cord Injuries, ALS, or Cerebral Palsy (for adults),. Common types of impairments associated with neurologic conditions can include balance, vision, weakness, spasticity, dizziness, or sensation loss.
Neurological Physical Therapy can help to improve function and activities of daily living. There are many interventions available to achieve these goals including task specific training, computerized balance retraining, weight supported treadmill training, functional electric stimulation for foot drop (WalkAide), spasticity management, orthotics, and assistive device evaluation. Many people can learn to live independently once they have participated in a physical therapy program.
Neurological physical therapists work with people to alleviate pain, improve the person's balance and coordination, restore their range of motion and improve their functional mobility.
Orthopedic/Chronic Pain Physical Therapy
Here in our physical therapy department we work with our neurologists and our Pain Management Group to provide drug free treatment for our patients suffering from painful conditions. Common conditions that we treat are bulging discs in the spine, nerve impingements, fibromyalgia, rotator cuff tears, and knee and hip replacements. Treatment includes exercises to aid in healing as well as various manual treatment modalities such as joint mobilization, soft tissue stretching, myofascial release, ultrasound, laser and TENS electrotherapy. The function of these tools is to provide functional rehabilitation, spinal stabilization, strength and endurance training, aerobic conditioning, balance therapy and postural re-education. Using these tools together helps aid in healing and provides long term solutions to many of these conditions.
As a part of our Physical Therapy Program we offer a specialized Rehabilitation Pilates program which allows us to treat our patients, as a whole, not just a specific injury or symptom. Pilates rehabilitation programs are directed at optimizing joint motion to improve muscle recruitment patterns and functional mobility.
Pilates is an effective and non-invasive tool for rehabilitation because it addresses and strengthens the entire body as a cohesive unit. A Pilates apparatus is used to assist patients in movements before the patient can perform it on their own. The spring assisted/resistance equipment challenges you to maintain stability in more than one plane, teaching you to use your body as a whole in movement. Through continued treatment and enthusiasm, your body will be able to use the skills gained from Pilates to promote healing and prevent future injury.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Have you noticed a difference in your abdominal, urine, bowel, or sexual health? A change that is slow and intermittent, abrupt, or even chronic/long-standing?
Have you been experiencing any of the issues below?
- Pain in the low back, pelvis, hips, SI joint, or tailbone
- Pain in bladder, vagina, rectum, genitals, or intestines
- Urgency and/or increased frequency to use the bathroom
- Incontinence (urine, bowel, or flatulence)
- Sexual dysfunction - pain, leakage, weakness, or reduced appreciation
- Bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Food/beverage intolerance
- Core weakness
- Prolapse (uterine, rectal, bladder, or intestinal)
- History of infections (pelvic, urinary, or prostate)
If so, have you ever spoken to a medical professional about it? Perhaps you did not find it important, noticeable or annoying enough, or were too embarrassed? No matter what your answer, there is a specialized form of physical therapy, called “Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy” that can address your questions and symptoms.
Please click on the various links below to begin learning about this specialty and how it can help you!
- What is the Pelvic Floor?
- Potential reasons for symptoms
- What happens in Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
- What is the next step?
Advertisements, social media, and some medical companies tend to downplay these issues, and often act as a band-aid, saying “wear this pad” or “take this pill” - not a true fix. Now that you have this information, it is time to take action. Do not allow these symptoms to negatively affect your physical, emotional, sexual, occupational or recreational abilities any longer. Even if your symptoms are not yet intrusive, they are still not considered normal, no matter what age, gender, or severity.
If you have any questions specifically regarding pelvic floor therapy, please email Dr. Stephanie VanSchaick, DPT at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Burke received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College, a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology from Queens College, is a Clinical Specialist in Neurology accredited by the APTA, and has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Touro College. Dr. Burke specializes in vestibular and balance therapy and is an adjunct professor at Touro College as well as a fulltime Clinical Assistant professor in the Physical Therapy Dept at SUNY Stony Brook University.
Stacy Trebing, PT
Stacy Trebing helped originate the balance program at SSNA in 1995. She received her Bachelors of Science from Stony Brook University. Ms. Trebing was trained in Vestibular Therapy at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at the NYU Medical Center. In addition, Ms. Trebing is certified in LSVT BIG for treatment of Parkinson's disease, has extensive experience and numerous certifications in vestibular rehab, and extensive experience in the treatment of neurologic conditions. Ms. Trebing specializes in Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Stephanie VanSchaick, DPT, CHC
Dr. Stephanie VanSchaick received her Bachelors of Science in Biology from St. Joseph’s College in 2013, followed by her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from New York Institute of Technology in 2018. Her doctoral research that explored specific neurological components of Parkinson’s disease was presented at multiple conferences, most notably for The American Society of Neurorehabilitation. Following this, she became certified in LSVT BIG, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. In addition, Stephanie began extending her services to treat pelvic floor dysfunctions in both women and men - this includes any pain, weakness, bowel, bladder, or sexual issue. In order to fulfill her desire to treat all patients holistically, she became a certified health coach through the Natoinal Society of Health Coaches - a credible program designed specifically for health care professionals, designed to guide individuals to formulate and achieve specific health goals.
Nicole Aquino, DPT
Dr. Aquino received her Bachelors of Science in Childhood Education from SUNY Cortland in 2013. She went on to receive her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University in 2016. She has extensive experience and interest working with the neurologic patient population, specifically with diagnoses of Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson’s disease, and Concussion. Dr. Aquino has received various certifications to continue advancing her treatment skills, with certifications in LSVT Big, SFMA- 1, Post-Concussion, and Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Brian Connell, DPT
Dr. Connell received his Bachelors of Science from Stony Brook University in 2015 and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2019. Throughout his graduate schooling he completed internships in Acute Hospital Care, Neurological Physical Therapy, and Orthopedic Physical Therapy, which has granted him exposure to an array of patient populations. He has a special interest in both Neurological, Balance, and Vestibular cases. He is currently certified in LSVT BIG, a specialized treatment for those with Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Connell also took part in a research study focusing on analyzation of walking in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, which he presented at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in January 2019. Dr. Connell is currently working on becoming specialized in Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Maria Schilling, DPT
Dr. Schilling received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Hofstra University in 2017, followed by her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University in 2020. Throughout her clinical experience she was worked with patients with neurologic conditions such as: Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, stroke, concussion, cerebral palsy, and vestibular dysfunction. She is currently certified in LSVT BIG, a treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has experience working with sports injuries and professional athletes. She is looking to continue her growth as a clinician by gaining certifications in vestibular rehab, balance body torso weighting, and concussion.
Physical Therapy Assistants
Susan Modugno, PTA - Pilates Rehabilitation Specialist
Heidi Wan, PTA
Lisa Hicke, PTA
Balance and Physical Therapeutics Locations:
77 Medford Avenue (Route 112)
Patchogue, NY 11772
877 East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
Graston Technique® is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions’
LSVT BIG Program
Physical program dedicated to improving the movements of patients that are affected by Parkinson’s Disease. For more information on the program follow the link below to the ‘Patient Resources’ page.
To see the effects of LSVT BIG follow the link below to a video displaying the improvement of a patient who practices LSVT BIG as a part of his daily routine.
Pole Star Pilates
For more information on rehabilitation Pilates theory and techniques
Vestibular Disorders Association
Recognizing the challenges of inner ear disorders.
Balance Body Torso Weighting - Balance Wear
For more information on on this weighted vest technology, please visit:
Back brace that provides support in order to build bone mass and improve bone mass for those suffering from Osteoporosis:
If you have any questions prior to seeing your doctor or our physical therapy department, please do not hesitate to email BalanceTherapeutics@southshoreneurologic.com