Physical therapy helps a patient regain movement or strength after an injury or an illness. Physical therapists are trained and licensed professionals who can evaluate a patient’s needs and create a plan to help them restore mobility and maintain physical function. Physical therapists can be found in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including:
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation centers
- Private practices
- Government agencies
- Research centers
What To Expect From Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can help people of various ages with a wide range of conditions. It can be used as a standalone treatment, or to support other types of treatment. A person can be referred to a physical therapist by their doctor, or they can seek treatment on their own. The physical therapist will do a physical exam and evaluation to determine movement, flexibility, and performance, and create a plan of care. The type of physical therapy received will be based on the therapist’s evaluation and diagnosis, and the plan often includes recommendations for self-management at home.
Benefits Of Physical Therapy
When a person is injured or suffering from a disease, physical therapy can make a difference in their pain management, reducing the need for strong prescriptions drugs. Physical therapy can improve mobility and movement, giving back a degree of independence to older patients. This can assist with improved balance, and aid in fall prevention.
People who have suffered a stroke use physical therapy to aid in recovery. Those who have had surgery can benefit from physical therapy to heal quicker, but physical therapy can be used in many cases to avoid surgery altogether. A healthcare provider or physical therapist can advise individuals about the benefits specific to their case and need for treatment.
Common Conditions Treated By Physical Therapy
- Cardiopulmonary conditions such as COPD and cystic fibrosis
- Musculoskeletal dysfunction such as back pain and rotator cuff tears
- Neurological conditions such as MS and spinal cord injuries
- Pediatric conditions such as cerebral palsy and developmental delays
- Sports injuries
- Women’s health issues
5 Common Types Of Physical Therapy
1) Orthopedic physical therapy is used to treat injuries involving the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. Can be used on fractures, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, chronic medical problems, and rehabilitation or recovery from orthopedic surgery.
2) Geriatric physical therapy can help older patients who develop conditions that affect their mobility and physical function, including arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, balance disorders, and incontinence. Can help restore mobility, reduce pain, and increase physical fitness levels.
3) Neurological physical therapy helps those with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Helps increase limb responsiveness, treat paralysis, and increase muscle strength.
4) Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation benefits people affected by certain cardiopulmonary conditions and surgical procedures. Treatment can increase physical endurance and stamina.
5) Pediatric physical therapy can diagnose, treat, and manage conditions that affect infants, children, and adolescents. This includes developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and conditions that impact the musculoskeletal system.