What is Physical Therapy and How Can a Physical Therapist Help You?
Physical Therapy is a field in medicine where trained professionals provide care that aims to ease pain and help patients function, move, and live a better life. These trained professionals called physical therapists can provide evaluation, diagnosis, and most importantly treat physical function related to injury, disability, disease, or a condition.
A trained and licensed physical therapist can help restore physical function and mobility, maintain physical function, and promote physical activity and proper function. One can find a physical therapist in a range of healthcare settings like outpatient offices, private practices, hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, home health, sports and fitness settings, schools, hospices, occupational settings, government agencies, and even in research centers.
What to expect from a physical therapist?
Licensed and certified physical therapists can provide care for patients in all phases of their healing process, from initial diagnosis through the restorative and preventive stages of recovery.
Physical therapy may either be a standalone option or may support other treatments as necessary and patients may be referred to a physical therapist by their physician or seek physical therapy themselves.
Patients who seek physical therapy services can expect to:
- Go through a physical examination and evaluation. This process will include a health history review and certain testing procedures. Patients’ posture, movement and flexibility, muscle and joint motion performance will be evaluated as well.
- Obtain a clinical diagnosis and prognosis.
- Get a detailed plan of care with careful consideration of their short and long-term goals.
- Receive physical therapy treatment and intervention based on the evaluation and diagnosis conducted by the physical therapist.
- Get recommendations. More often, patients are given training on exercises that they can do at home which can help them function more effectively.
Common conditions treated by physical therapy.
There are a wide variety of conditions that physical therapy can treat. These conditions include but is not limited to:
- Cardiopulmonary conditions. (i.e., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, cystic fibrosis (CF), and post-myocardial infarction (MI).
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and trigger finger
- Musculoskeletal dysfunction
- Neurological conditions
- Pediatric conditions
- Sports-related injuries
- Women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction
Cases like burns, wound care, and diabetic ulcers may also benefit from physical therapy services.
Physical therapy benefits.
The benefits of taking receiving physical therapy services are wide-ranging. These benefits include:
- Pain management with reduced need for opioids
- Reducing the possibility of surgery
- Mobility improvement
- Injury or trauma recovery
- Stroke or paralysis recovery
- Fall prevention
- Improved balance
- Management of age-related medical problems
- Athletic performance maximization (provided by sports therapists)
Types of physical therapy.
Just like any other field in medicine, physical therapy also comes in various types. These types are as follows:
Orthopedic physical therapy
This type of physical therapy treats musculoskeletal injuries. These are injuries that involve the muscles, bones, ligaments, fascias, and tendons. Conditions treated by orthopedic physical therapy are:
- Chronic medical problems
- Rehabilitation or recovery from orthopedic surgery
Geriatric physical therapy
Geriatric physical therapy is intended to help older patients who are suffering from conditions that affect their mobility and physical function. These conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Hip and joint replacement
- balance disorders
Neurological physical therapy
Neurological physical therapy is designed to help patients with neurological disorders and conditions such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injury
This treatment aims to increase limb responsiveness, treat paralysis, and reverse increase muscle strength by reducing muscle atrophy.
Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation
This type is recommended for people suffering from cardiopulmonary conditions and surgical procedures as it can increase physical endurance and stamina.
Pediatric physical therapy
Pediatric physical therapy is geared towards the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect infants, children, and adolescents. These conditions may include delays, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, torticollis, and other conditions that impact the musculoskeletal system.
Other types of physical therapy are wound care, vestibular, decongestive, and pelvic floor rehabilitation.
To find out the type of physical therapy treatment that fits your condition, always seek help from your physician or a licensed and certified physical therapist. The team at Crafted PT and many other similar practices are able to see new patients in less than 48 hours, so what are you waiting for?
References for this post:
Physical therapy: Who can benefit and how can it help?
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