Die Neuroathletiktrainer Yassin Jebrini und Berengar Buschmann behandeln einen Mann auf dem Neuro Innovation Day 2023.

Physio meets Neuro: Neuroathletics in physiotherapy

Reading time: 7 minutes

Physio meets Neuro is the name of the project that connects two worlds: physiotherapy and neuroathletics. Together, the experts Berengar Buschmann and Yassin Jebrini are researching the strengths and intersections of both methods and trying to reconcile them.


What is Physio meets Neuro?
Session 1: Neuroathletic training for back pain
Session 2: Neuroathletic training for the vagus nerve
Session 3: Neuroathletic training for neck pain
Session 4: Neuroathletic training for shoulder pain
Physio meets Neuro - Interview with Berengar Buschmann and Yassin Jebrini
About the neuroathletics experts

What is Physio meets Neuro?

The main aim of the campaign is to introduce physiotherapists to the principles of neuroathletics and to encourage them to integrate them into their everyday work. The aim is to deepen our understanding of the interaction between the nervous, muscle and connective tissue systems and to develop new, holistic treatment approaches.

For this purpose, neuroathletics trainer Yassin Jebrini and physiotherapist Berengar Buschmann have developed individual methods to sensibly combine targeted techniques from neurocentric training and physiotherapy. This is how Physio meets Neuro came about, a treatment concept that can help people mentally and physically.

In four exciting sessions, Yassin and Berengar will show you how neuroathletic training and physiotherapy can be used sensibly in practice. Various complaints and clinical pictures are examined and treated with the support of the best neuroathletics tools.

Session 1: Neuroathletic training for back pain

Do you often have pain when sitting or when tying your shoes? Can you get out of the car or do you contort yourself into a protective position? Can you sleep through the night or do you have problems staying in bed for long periods of time?

Back pain is still one of the most common complaints. Around two thirds of all Germans regularly suffer from it. It's hardly surprising: we sit too much and move too little. Our bodies are not designed for this. However, regular exercises for back pain can help.

>> Reading tip: 2 neuroathletics exercises for back pain

Yassin and Berengar show you how everyday back pain can be treated:

Session 2: Neuroathletic training for the vagus nerve

Do you have sleep problems? Do you suffer from chronic pain or indigestion? Are you quickly out of breath? The cause of these problems can often be found in the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve is the tenth and longest nerve of the cranial nervous system and is not named so for nothing; because “vagus” means “wandering” in Latin. In fact, this nerve runs through large parts of our body and connects the brain to many organs, including the heart, lungs and intestines.

A well-functioning vagus nerve helps us cope with stress better by ensuring that our body can transition from a state of tension to a state of relaxation more quickly.

>> Reading tip: Activate the vagus nerve: 3 simple exercises for more relaxation and serenity

Berengar and Yassin show you in the video how the vagus nerve influences your well-being and how you can actively stimulate it:

Session 3: Neuroathletic training for neck pain

Do you often have neck pain? Does your neck hurt when you look over your shoulder while driving? Can you turn your head to the side correctly?

The causes of neck pain can be varied, and a combination of different factors is often at play. One of the main causes is muscular tension, which results from inadequate or awkward posture - be it from sitting in front of the computer for hours or from incorrect positioning while sleeping. The increasing use of smartphones also often leads to so-called “text neck” strain, in which the neck remains in a downward tilted position for long periods of time.

Berengar and Yassin show you in the video what you can do professionally if you have neck pain:

Session 4: Neuroathletic training for shoulder pain

Does your shoulder hurt when you reach for the top shelf? Do you sometimes feel numbness in your arm that extends to your fingers? Are you afraid of lifting or pushing heavy boxes because it will cause your shoulder pain to come back?

Shoulder pain manifests itself as discomfort and inconvenience in the area between the neck and upper arm. They can be acute or chronic, vary in intensity and be exacerbated by different movements or postures. The shoulder itself is the most mobile joint in the body and is surrounded by a complex structure of muscles, tendons and ligaments, making it particularly vulnerable to injury or wear and tear.

Berengar and Yassin show you in the video how so-called shoulder impingement can be treated with neuroathletic exercises:

Physio meets Neuro - Interview with Berengar Buschmann and Yassin Jebrini

In an interview, physiotherapist Berengar Buschmann and neuroathletics trainer Yassin Jebrini talk about the opportunities of this collaboration.

Yassin, do you think that traditional physiotherapy with its established methods and techniques may be outdated?

YJ: No, absolutely not. The techniques used demonstrably create added value for some patients. However, it certainly makes sense to broaden the perspective to include pain and other rehabilitation measures because their causes go beyond the primarily musculoskeletal therapy.

Berengar, is neuroathletics perhaps just a fashion trend?

BB: It's definitely a trend. At the height of the fascia trend I got to know real trend waves for the first time. For me, however, it is not the trend that is crucial, but rather the strength of the content, which also helps me personally advance professionally. You can be skeptical about any topic that arouses widespread interest.

How would you measure the success of your treatment?

YJ: Through reflexive assessments for the therapist and sensory and motor assessments for the client, we can immediately assess for each measure whether we are currently generating added value. This is the only way we can guarantee that all the measures chosen are really helpful for the patient.

BB: In my opinion, there are still too few objective tests in the world of neuroathletics. Some things are primarily subjective. In training courses with Yassin, for example, we used force measuring devices that objectively measure forces in Nm. But success also comes from subjectivity, for example because the pain is immediately reduced after techniques.

What type of injuries or illnesses do you most commonly treat?

YJ: It's very different. Since I am not a physiotherapist, patients usually only come to me when the rehabilitation has been completed and the desired success has not been achieved. We more often see clients with pain problems or restricted mobility that doctors and physical therapists have not been able to get under control.

BB: In my case it's all kinds of sports injuries and overuse syndromes. Everything from the world of orthopedics and surgery.

How do physiotherapy and neuroathletics differ in terms of the rehabilitation process?

BB: I think they don't differ, but rather complement each other. Fascia rollers or tapes, for example, are used just as often in physiotherapy as they are in neuroathletics. It depends on the point of view: Do I serve the nervous or connective tissue system more? I think you can use both. However, depending on the goal, you can set different application priorities in detail.

YJ: In neuroathletics, in addition to the musculoskeletal work, we also pay attention to the restoration of movement control and regulation by the central nervous system. If a structure is not loaded as usual for a certain period of time after an injury or operation, this not only affects the resilience of the bones, muscles, tendons, fascia and ligaments, but also on the neuronal areas that innervate and control these structures . We always have to keep both in mind as part of rehabilitation measures.

How do you see the future for physiotherapy and neuroathletics with regard to new findings and developments in rehabilitation?

BB: That's difficult to answer. The future of physiotherapy is its own complex question. With regard to the match between these two worlds, I believe that a lot of things will grow together and become increasingly closer. Neuroathletics will certainly become a firmly integrated form of application in its basic principles.

YJ: Our colleague Felix Danners, a physiotherapist, recently said that the term neuroathletics does not do justice to the matter itself, as it is about more than the integration of functional neurology into athletic training or therapy.

When people hear the word neuroathletics, they expect a new set of techniques and tools. In addition to a wide range of tools, the neurocentric perspective also brings with it a new perspective. We tend to apply a familiar range of techniques to a given problem, sometimes with success and sometimes with failure. The neurocentric approach provides a clear structure as to when what can be usefully used for which problem. I would like to recommend the podcast Between Eye Patch and Manual Therapy, Episode 10 - Felix was on further training.

Yassin, is neuroathletics able to cover the broad scope of traditional physiotherapy?

YJ: The question implies substituting physiotherapy with neuroathletic training, which is absolutely not helpful. I like to use the metaphor of functional neurology as an umbrella under which all techniques from therapy and training fit and which explains to us when and in what context which technique can be used profitably and in what dosage.

As Ber [Berengar] has already stated - we all work on the same system, we just have different access via different techniques and tools. Some are more targeted and in tune with the needs of the patient's nervous system, others are more random and habit-based. The neurocentric training approach complements physiotherapy excellently and enables faster and more targeted therapeutic success. The musculoskeletal perspective is supplemented by that of neural movement control and movement control.

Berengar, is there a tendency in physiotherapy to treat symptoms instead of a holistic analysis of the causes?

BB: Yes, definitely. But the current, serious reason for this is not necessarily unqualified therapists, but rather the working conditions with extremely limited time intervals per patient.

Are there certain injuries for which you would recommend working with the other form of treatment?

BB: Based on previous experience, we can take successful joint steps in the event of herniated discs, cruciate ligament tears and, for example, shoulder impingements.

YJ: Definitely. Especially when it comes to manual therapy measures, physiotherapists are generally much better trained and more knowledgeable than trainers and are also on safer legal ground.

What would have to be done for patients to benefit from an integrative approach that combines the best elements of both forms of treatment?

BB: In order to hope for visionary, highly motivated therapists who are willing to continue training and to increase the chances, a reform in the German health system is needed. Ultimately, it doesn't mean that the physiotherapist has to replace the neuroathletics trainer, but rather that he can test to what extent the approaches are relevant for the patient and then pass them on to professional colleagues. To do this, as a physio, I also have to understand this systemic thinking.

YJ: For me, functional neurology should be integrated into the training of therapists so that more complete treatment is possible. This applies to sports scientists and trainers alike. There is a gap that needs to be closed in the area of ​​training and therapy. Everyone would benefit from this. The fact is: we all always work with the nervous system. Therefore, we should do it responsibly and not randomly, based solely on our own habits and conveniences.

About the neuroathletics experts

Berengar Buschmann, DOSB sports physiotherapist, physiotherapist B.Sc., sect. alternative practitioner & trainer, owner AREHA Idstein

Berengar Buschmann is a passionate sports physiotherapist and lives this calling dynamically and optimistically every day in his “second professional life”. He has been a lecturer for 10 years and has been working with athletes from high-performance/professional sports (ATP top 100 tennis players as well as footballers from the Bundesliga and Champions League) for 6 years. In his first professional step in life he was a professional footballer, became a sports invalid and came back to life stronger than ever before. These experiences help him to help his customers and patients today. Since then, Buschmann has been working on and developing the “best possible concept” for maintaining health as a “health visionary” and with his AREHA team.

Yassin Jebrini | Sports scientist, neuroathletics trainer & instructor

Yassin Jebrini is one of the leading coaches and trainers in the field of neuroathletics. He uses his experience as a Z-Health Master Practitioner, former competitive athlete (football & rowing), master's graduate from the German Sport University Cologne and long-time trainer to train ambitious trainers and therapists as well as athletes in neurocentric training and therapy approaches. His six-month neuroathletics mentorship is one of the most professional and in-depth training programs in German-speaking countries.

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