The American Physical Therapy Association – APTA states that physical therapy is a treatment in which a trained professional helps in promoting, maintaining, and restoring health and bodily functions. Physical Therapists (PTs) help with diagnosis, prognosis, physical examination, rehabilitation, disease prevention, etc., to promote well-being.
You can find these professional physical therapists in private clinics, outpatient and inpatient clinics, schools, rehab centers, hospices, etc. Sportsmen, children, or anyone dealing with an injury or illness can benefit from physical therapy as it can help treat various health problems.
Physical Therapy Overview
You must understand how physical therapy works before you go ahead and perform any exercises or choose any method. A therapist supervises and aids the patient during the recovery process from the initial diagnosis to full recovery. Patients can opt for physical therapy separately, or they can take it to support other treatments.
For example, physical therapy can help relieve pain and restore function if an individual is dealing with a fracture or a sprain. Most patients go for physical therapy after a healthcare professional recommends it, but one can go for therapy without a referral from your doctor.
What to Expect in Physical Therapy
When you go for physical therapy, you should expect your PT to:
- Examine and assess your condition
- Ask your medical history, pain symptoms, and everyday tasks
- Diagnose your condition
- Check how easily you can move around, bend, reach, or grasp
- Check your heartbeat as well as your posture
- The therapist will develop a long-term and short-term care plan for the physical therapy.
- Advise you on how to self-manage pain and restore movement and function
Physical Therapy Options
Physical therapy can benefit almost anyone, but it is important to know your options before you go for treatment. While there are multiple treatment types, we will cover the most common ones in this article. Lets us begin.
Geriatric Physical Therapy
Geriatric physical therapy is specifically for people suffering from mobility issues due to other diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, balance disorders, etc. Patients can relieve pain, improve mobility, and bodily functions through this kind of physical therapy.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Orthopedic physical therapy can help deal with injuries related to muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Professionals may ask patients to go for mobilization therapy, manual therapy, strength training, and much more.
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Young children and infants may also need physical therapy. Infants have a higher chance of developing congenital conditions too. However, pediatric physical therapy can help in this regard, especially with developmental issues, cerebral palsy torticollis, and several other health conditions that can last for a lifetime.
Neurological Physical Therapy
People with neurological disorders such as amnesia, Alzheimer’s, co-ordination issues, motor problems, etc., can all take physical therapy. Treatments provided by these professionals aim to improve the overall health and physical function of the body by increasing muscle strength, reducing muscle entropy, and treating paralysis.
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
People suffering from cardiovascular complications due to surgical procedures or cardiopulmonary conditions can benefit from this physical therapy. These treatments help improve stamina and endurance, and overall health.
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
Urinary incontinence is a common problem that older people usually deal with. While this condition can affect one’s lifestyle, a patient can reduce the problem through pelvic floor rehabilitation. Both men and women can benefit from this therapy as it helps reduce the urgency to go to the bathroom, strengthens pelvic muscles, and much more.
Professionals may go a step ahead and aid the therapy process with ultrasounds, heat and cold therapy, or electrical stimulations. It all depends on your condition and the severity of your problem.
Why Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy can help a patient in several ways; while some of these benefits may be direct or indirect, they are still important. Let us take a look at some of the most common benefits of taking physical therapy.
- It can help reduce the need for surgery in case of an injury that can still be managed
- It helps in pain management and reduces the need for opioids to bear the pain
- It reduces age-related pain, health complications, and mobility issues
- It helps recover from accidents, trauma, and severe injuries
- It improves balance, bodily functions, and the overall health
- It helps prevent falls and misbalance resulting in potential injuries
Similarly, the extent of the benefits of this therapy depends on the condition of the patient. For example, sports therapists can help improve physical strength and your performance. However, physical therapy and medical treatment can help people of all age groups depending on their physical condition and complexity.
Finding a Physical Therapist
A common question that most people ask is what type of physical therapist they should go for. However, it all depends on the problems that you are dealing with. If it’s a psychological problem, then a neurological physical therapist can help you. Similarly, if you had an accident, then a wound care physical therapist can help make things easier.
You can also choose a pediatric physical therapist for an infant dealing with physical problems. It is safe to say that you should choose a PT who has the experience and expertise to help you with your problem. It may take some time, but physical therapy can surely help improve, restore, and maintain bodily functions.
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