In physical Therapy, also called physical Therapy, trained professionals evaluate and treat abnormal bodily functions related to injury, disability, or other health conditions.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapists are proficient and licensed movement professionals. They can diagnose and treat various injuries, disabilities, and health conditions.
Physical therapists aim to improve a person’s range of motion and quality of life and prevent further injury or disability.
Licensed physical therapists work in various healthcare settings, including outpatient practices, private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health care, sports and fitness centers, schools, hospices, workplaces, government agencies, and research centers.
What to expect in Physical Therapy
A physical therapist helps patients through all stages of healing, from the initial diagnosis to the therapeutic and preventative stages of recovery. Physical Therapy can be a standalone option or complement other treatments.
Some patients are referred to a physical therapist by a doctor, while others seek Therapy.
According to the World Confederation of Physiotherapy, physical therapist receives training that enables them to:
- Conducting a physical examination and assessment of an individual’s movement, flexibility, muscle and joint movement, and performance, including determining their health history
- Provide a clinical diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan with short and long-term goals.
- carry out physiotherapeutic treatments and interventions
- Provide recommendations for self-management, including exercises that a person can do at home
In addition to physical manipulation, physiotherapy treatment may include:
- Iontophoresis – uses electrical current to deliver certain medications, such as B. topical steroids. It can reduce the presence of inflammation.
- Electrostimulation (E-Stim): There are two types of e-stim. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation reduces pain. In contrast, neuromuscular electrical stimulation stimulates muscle motor units to enhance muscle contraction.
- Heat, moist heat, and cold Therapy: can benefit several conditions.
- Light Therapy: Special lights and lasers are secondhand to treat certain conditions.
Common conditions physical Therapy may help with
Physical therapists can provide complementary treatment for various conditions, depending on their specialty.
Although physical therapists cannot directly and independently treat conditions other than pure musculoskeletal disorders, they work to optimize recovery or educate people on how to optimize their movement patterns.
Some conditions that might benefit from physical Therapy are:
- Cardiopulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and heart failure after myocardial infarction
- Disorders affecting the hand, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger
- Musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain, rotator cuff tears, and TMJ disorders
- Pediatric diseases, including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
- Sports-related injuries such as concussion and tennis elbow
- Women’s health and pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence and lymphedema
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Depending on the reason for the treatment, the benefits of physiotherapy may include:
- Pain management with less need for opioids
- Avoid surgeries
- improved mobility and movement
- Recovery from injury or trauma
- Recovery from stroke or paralysis
- Prevention of falls
- better balance
- Treat age-related medical problems
An athletic therapist can help an athlete maximize performance by strengthening specific body parts and using muscles in new ways.
A physical therapist or other healthcare professional can advise individuals on specific benefits for their medical history and treatment needs.
Why is a home exercise program (HEP) essential, and what does it entail?
A home exercise program (HEP) is an individualized set of therapeutic exercises that patients learn to perform at home from their physical therapist to supplement and reinforce their clinical program.
Along with these exercises, HEP might also involve avoiding certain activities to lessen the chance of reinjury and using lower-level modalities like heat or ice.
Why is a HEP Important?
- Home exercises reinforce what you learned during your visit to the physiotherapist. It will encourage faster progression to the next stage of your rehabilitation program.
- Home exercises can help improve muscle memory. This muscle memory is valuable when adding new activities to your rehabilitation sessions.
- Exercising at home proves to be the start of a new, active, healthy lifestyle!
- Home exercises will help prevent new injuries.
- For patients with chronic or progressive disease, home exercise is often beneficial in the long term to maintain strength and functional gains long after in-office physiotherapy visits have ended.
- Research shows that patients who adhere to a HEP are up to 5 times more likely to successfully achieve their rehabilitation goals than patients who rely solely on their visits to the physical therapist’s office!
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