Our History

Northern Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Associates began in 1978 with one clinic originally located on South 2nd Street in DeKalb, owned and operated by Tim Dunlop (now retired). As the DeKalb community and impact of the physical therapy profession in healthcare grew, so did Northern Rehab. In 1983, Northern Rehab expanded to a larger facility on Health Services Drive in DeKalb, then in 1995 moved to the Resource Parkway location in DeKalb, and in April 2017, moved to our current location at 3266 Sycamore Road in DeKalb.
Through the late 1980s and early 1990s, additional therapists joined the practice, keeping Northern Rehab a local business owned and operated by physical therapists.

Ken Olson, a physical therapist originally from Maple Park, joined Northern Rehab in 1996 and in 2006 became President of the organization.

A second clinic opened in Rochelle in September 2001 and is managed by Aaron Nevdal. Realizing the needs of patients within the local surrounding communities, in 2005 a third clinic opened in Genoa and has been managed by physical therapist and Genoa native, Melissa Payne Wagner. In 2010, a fourth clinic opened on Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, managed by Northern Rehab’s industrial physical therapy specialist, Rob Larkins. In 2023, the opportunity arose to expand our DeKalb Sycamore Road location to reflect our continued commitment to provide high-quality, accessible, personalized, hands-on physical therapy services to our valued patients.  As of July 2023, our DeKalb Lincoln Highway team relocated and merged with our expanded and renovated DeKalb Sycamore Road clinic. The company now includes 12 physical therapists and numerous support staff. Several years ago, a rebranding process resulted in changing the name to Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists to reflect the clinical specializations the physical therapists at Northern Rehab have developed including orthopedics, sports and conditioning, manual therapy, pediatric physical therapy, industrial physical therapy, pelvic floor physical therapy, aquatic physical therapy, and vestibular rehab.

All of the physical therapists, as well as most of our other staff, volunteer in various organizations within the community because Northern Rehab strongly believes in giving back and supporting the community that has supported us for all of these years.

A privately-owned and operated local business, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists has built a solid reputation and strong relationships within the communities it serves. Northern Rehab strives to treat patients in a professional, yet fun and friendly atmosphere providing quality, skilled hands-on physical therapy with an emphasis on one-on-one physical therapy care provided by the physical therapist.

For over 45 years, Northern Rehab has grown to be a leader in the physical therapy community reaching a milestone that many businesses never achieve. Chosen as DeKalb County’s Finest Best Physical Therapists 12 years in a row (2012-2023), DeKalb County's Finest Coolest Place to Work for 7 consecutive years (2016-2021), DeKalb County's Finest Friendliest Staff (2016-2020), DeKalb County's Finest Best in Women's Health (2023), DeKalb County's Top Healthcare Facility (2022), DeKalb County's Top Family Owned Business (2022), DeKalb County's Top Small Business (2022), DeKalb County's Top Business That Gives Back To The Community (2022), Best of Ogle County's Best Physical Therapists (2019-2022), and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce 2002 Business of the Year, Northern Rehab has a strong commitment to the community.