Physical Therapy to “Better” your Painful Condition

August 3, 2023
Physical Therapy
by Kolton Opdahl

Physical therapy (PT) is used to treat injuries or disabilities. Professionals are trained to diagnose, evaluate, and treat a wide variety of these conditions. More specifically, they are licensed movement experts. The Physical Therapist’s goal is to improve their patients’ quality of life by working to increase their range of motion & flexibility. This in turn helps discourage further injury. Typically, physical therapists work in a broad range of healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient officers, schools, and more.

What to Expect

PT takes preventive steps towards recovery. Many patients are referred to this therapy by their doctor, and some others seek it on their own. Physical Therapists receive intensive training that gives them the ability to perform the following:

  • Physical exams / evaluations of an individual’s movement & flexibility
  • Clinical Diagnoses & plan of care with goals included
  • Treatment & Intervention
  • Patient self-management recommendations (ex: at-home exercises)

Generally, physical therapy involves physical manipulation, but it can also use other forms of treatment such as:

  • Electrical Stimulation: This therapy reduces pain and stimulates the muscles to improve muscle engagement.
  • Iontophoresis: Involves the use of an electric current to deliver medications in order to reduce inflammation.
  • Heat & Cold Therapy: Uses heat or cold to benefit a range of conditions
  • Light Therapy: Uses special lights and lasers to help reduce pain and improve symptoms

Conditions that Physical Therapy could help with

Physical therapy can help with a variety of conditions including (but not limited to):

  • Cardiopulmonary (cystic fibrosis, myocardial infarction heart failure)
  • Pediatric (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy)
  • Musculoskeletal (rotator cuff tears, back pain, joint disorders)
  • Hand conditions (trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Neurological (Parkinson’s, stroke, spinal cord-related, brain injuries)
  • Sports (concussion, tennis elbow)
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (urinary incontinence, lymphedema)

Benefits

Physical therapy can have many benefits, but it’s important to remember that everybody’s body responds differently to treatment. Something that works for one person may not work for you. However, results are fairly consistent with PT patients. Here are some of the primary benefits of physical therapy:

  • Pain management
  • Improved balance
  • Improves muscle strength
  • Injury recovery
  • Fall prevention
  • Surgery prevention
  • Improved mobility 

Types of Physical Therapy

Many people don’t know this, but there are different types of physical therapy that professionals can specialize in. If you are interested in seeking therapy for yourself, then consider researching which specialist best fits your needs. Otherwise, your doctor may refer you to a specific type of therapist based on your condition.

  • Orthopedic Therapy
  • Neurological Therapy
  • Pediatric Therapy
  • Decongestive Therapy
  • Geriatric Therapy
  • Wound Care Therapy
  • Vestibular Therapy
  • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

How to find a Physical Therapist

One of the easiest ways to find a physical therapist is to use the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website which allows you to find therapists near you. Similarily, you can search the old-fashioned way by driving around your community to find a physical therapy office nearby and go inside to ask questions about the clinic. No matter which method you choose, always remember to research / inquire about insurance acceptance because each therapist has different health

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