What is Physical Therapy and How Can It Help?
Posted May 30, 2022
If you are like most people, you may have a vague idea of what physical therapy is, and why it is an important part of healthcare. What you may not know is that no matter what is going on in your life or with your health, physical therapy can most likely help!
PT is a type of health care practice that focuses on improving the way you move, and everything that is involved in safely getting around throughout your day. Physical therapy treatment ranges from carefully prescribed exercises to hands-on techniques specifically designed to target your mobility or functional impairment. It can also help with recovery from surgery, injury prevention, and fall prevention, among many other things!
A very common preconception is that physical therapy is for athletes, or for those recovering from orthopedic surgery. While PT is appropriate in both of these scenarios, it can also be useful in a variety of other situations.
When physical therapists graduate from their doctorate program, they are able to treat patients in any setting – they may treat patients suffering from a head injury, or going through chemotherapy for cancer, or babies learning to walk! Anytime someone is having trouble moving around, visiting a physical therapist is a good place to start.
Types of Physical Therapy
After a physical therapist receives their doctorate degree, they may choose to specialize in a specific treatment area. This means that no matter what your problem is, there is likely a highly experienced specialist who can diagnose and treat it.
While most people equate physical therapy with exercise, the variety of treatment and interventions offered by physical therapists are much more diverse than that. Manual physical therapists may be able to relieve your pain with just a few quick motions, while in other cases your PT may merely make recommendations that change your life for the better.
- Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on bones, muscles, ligaments and joints. If you have broken a bone, torn a muscle or ligament, or undergone a total joint replacement, orthopedic physical therapy is the right place for you.
- Neurologic physical therapy addresses impairments caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and anything else that affects the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
- Cardiopulmonary physical therapy is a great option for individuals experiencing congestive heart failure, heart attack, COPD, or any other condition that affects the heart, arteries, veins, or lungs.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy can help with incontinence, prolapse, and sexual dysfunction and pain.
- Pediatric physical therapy helps children with developmental and congenital conditions that affect their growth and acquisition of skills.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Now that you know the different types of physical therapy, you still may be wondering what’s in it for you. There are countless benefits to participating in a physical therapy program. As an example, maybe you have recently retired and are looking forward to spending time with your grandkids, but are having trouble keeping up with them. Maybe your back, hips, or knees are painful after long walks or sitting for a long time at little league baseball games.
A physical therapist will carefully evaluate the issue, determine a diagnosis, and collaborate with you to set goals that are achievable and relevant to your life. Your treatment plan will be as unique as you are and will focus on your priorities. Do you want to decrease pain? That’s what we will prioritize.
Do you want to increase your endurance so you can walk the dog for longer without getting tired? We can do that too! Rapid recovery from surgery, decreased chance of re-injury, improved balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as increased participation in social activities are all things you can expect to gain from participating in physical therapy!
Now that you're in the know...
Common Conditions Physical Therapy Helps
Physical therapists are movement experts and can help decrease pain and improve motion in many different conditions. It doesn’t matter if it is a muscle, joint, heart, lung, or brain problem that is limiting the way you move, we are trained to address limitations in movement across the spectrum.
Some of the most common conditions seen by physical therapists include joint replacements at the shoulder, hip, and knee, low back pain, balance and walking problems, sports injuries like ACL rupture and repair, and shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears. It is also common to go to a physical therapist after a car accident to address whiplash or any other injuries sustained in the crash.
If you are experiencing a new onset of pain, or even something that has been plaguing you for years, many people finally find relief through physical therapy. Give it a try today to find out how physical therapy can help you!