If you live with a chronic condition or are recovering from an injury, your doctor has probably recommended physical therapy. Physical therapy can be a vital part of the recovery process. Physical therapists (commonly referred to as PTs) help people who have injuries or illnesses improve their ability to move physically. Physical therapy also helps patients more effectively deal with their pain. Physical therapy is effective for many injuries that affect functional mobility. Physical therapy helps patients build strength and endurance, improve balance, increase range of motion and better perform physical tasks.
When a patient arrives for the initial physical therapy appointment, the physical therapist does a thorough evaluation of the patient's condition. The patient will walk, stand, and perform other physical movements for the therapist to observe during the physical therapy evaluation.
The physical therapist will establish a schedule of treatment. The modalities used in physically therapy typically include special stretching movements, physical therapy exercise, biofeedback, physical agents (ultrasound, heat, ice, electrical stimulation), and hands-on manual treatment. Physical therapy offices also employ specialized equipment that can improve physical therapy effectiveness.
Another vital aspect of physical therapy is patient education and counseling. When the patient is helped to understand the rehabilitation process, he or she is better able to manage the emotional trauma that often accompanies the physical trauma.
Physical therapy is used to treat injuries of the spine, shoulder, hip, wrist, ankle, knee, and foot. Patients who have received a joint replacement routinely undergo physical therapy. Physical therapy is effective for stroke patients, people who have had a limb amputated, car accident victims, and workers who have developed carpal tunnel syndrome or other over-use disorders. Physical therapy is also used for many chronic disorders such as TMD, arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis.
Some physical therapists specialize in physical therapy specifically designed for conditions exclusive or common to women such as menstrual pain, incontinence, pain after childbirth, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Geriatric physical therapists specialize in problems associated with aging. These conditions include osteoporosis, arthritis, joint replacement, balance problems, and Alzheimer's disease. Pediatric physical therapy assists children with chronic conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis and also birth defects, developmental problems, autism, sensory processing disorders, and all types of injuries.
Physical therapy that specializes in wound and burn disorders is called integumentary therapy. In addition to performing general physical therapy techniques, integumentary therapists perform wound dressing, deriding of necrotic tissue, and lymphatic drainage.
Patients can receive physical therapy in chiropractic practices, health and wellness centers, rehab centers, hospitals, extended care facilities, hospices, fitness centers, and even right where they live.
Physical therapy is a process that can take several months, depending on the specific injury, overall health of the patient, and other factors. Fortunately, the patient often notices improvement after the first few physical therapy treatments. Physical therapy can help patients regain their life and live pain-free. If your daily function is compromised by one of the conditions discussed in this article, or by something we have not mentioned, call our office today for a physical therapy consultation. Expert physical therapy at Johnson Chiropractic can be an important part of your recovery.