Physical Therapy Clinic & Physical Therapists Near Me
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy, or physiotherapy, is a healthcare profession that focuses on treating conditions that cause pain, create functional weakness or limit a patient’s ability to move. Physical therapists treat conditions that are caused by chronic pain, trauma, injury, developmental physical defects, or aging.
Physical therapy can be coordinated with other medical treatment and is intended to help a patient increase ranges of motion, relieve pain and restore maximum physical ability.
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Training of a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are licensed medical professionals who treat patients with a variety of different medical conditions. Although not medical doctors themselves, they collaborate with medical doctors and carry out the orders for therapy made by a patient’s treating doctor.
Physical therapists are trained in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, neuroscience, pathology, behavioral sciences, musculoskeletal systems, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic and endocrine systems.
Some physical therapists focus on specific areas, including:
- Sports-related physical therapy;
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary health;
- Clinical electro-physiology; or
Conditions Treated with Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is an effective form of treatment for many medical conditions, including:
- Accident or sports related injuries;
- Cardiopulmonary conditions such as post-myocardial infarction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- Neurological conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s disease and trauma-related brain injuries;
- Musculoskeletal dysfunctions;
- Congenital or developmental defects in pediatric patients; and
- Pelvic floor dysfunction resulting in pelvic wall prolapse and urinary incontinence in women.
Common accident related conditions treated with physical therapy include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries. These can cause lasting damage and adverse effects on a patient’s day-to-day life. Damage to the brain or nervous system can result in impaired balance and motor skills.
- Neck Injuries
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Neck fracture
- Collar bone fracture
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck sperain
- Chest Injuries
- Bruised or broken ribs
- Punctured or collapsed lung
- Muscle strain
- Back Injuries
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Strains and sprains
- Spinal cord injury
- Arm and Leg Injuries
What Type of Equipment Is Used By Physical Therapists
Physical therapists use a number of instruments and equipment in their practice. This equipment may be used for exercise or pain relief. You may likely see some, or all, of the following at a physical therapist’s office:
- Exercise equipment. For example, resistance bands, dumbbells, cuff weights, treadmill, recumbent bike, adjustable height pulleys, upper body ergometer, and a leg press machine. These are utilized for strengthening muscles and improving motor coordination;
- Ramps. These are often used by stroke patients and patients who need to re-establish/reinforce lower limb movement. Initially, the physical therapist may provide assistance. As the patient gains balance and strength, the patient is encouraged to walk up and down the ramp alone;
- Exercise balls. These help to develop core strength and balance. Initially, the patient is encouraged to try balancing while sitting;
- Ultrasound. This may be used to facilitate healing and increasing blood flow by warming muscles and tendons;
- Electrotherapy. Electrical stimulation has a variety of therapeutic effects. It provides muscle stimulation to prevent muscle atrophy that can result from prolonged disuse, relaxes muscle spasm, aids pain management and improves blood flow; and
- Hydrotherapy. This is the process of utilizing warm or cold water for pain management.
What Types of Physical Therapy Can You Expect?
Exercise is an important part of physical therapy. Here are some common forms of exercises you can expect when under the care of a physical therapist:
- Aerobic and endurance exercises;
- Massage therapy;
- Breathing exercises;
- Coordination training;
- Neuromuscular education/re-education;
- Soft tissue stretching and range-of-motion exercises; and
- Strength and power exercises.
How Long Can You Expect to See a Physical Therapist?
The amount and type of physical therapy that is best for you is most readily determined by your doctor. You will need to periodically followup with the doctor who ordered your physical therapy for an assessment of your condition and your progress with the therapy that you have already completed. During these visits, your doctor will access your condition and determine whether you would benefit from additional or different therapy.
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