Physical therapy isn’t just for people who have sustained a major injury. It’s beneficial for anyone who has been injured, has a chronic illness or disease, needs rehabilitation, or has difficulty with mobility. Physical therapists assist people developmental disabilities, neurological conditions, and those with a prosthesis. Treatment can often provide an alternative to surgery and long-term use of prescription medications for pain.
The number of conditions, disease and syndromes that can be alleviated with physical therapy are virtually endless. From rehabilitation after accidents to TMJ pain and orthotic devices that align the spine, therapists provide a variety of therapies designed to ease pain and improve the overall function of the body. Physical therapists are available in multiple settings and can begin providing therapy even in ICU environments.
Therapists develop individualized treatment and management plans that aid the patient’s recovery from wounds, broken bones, neurological damage, jaw pain and migraines. Physical therapy is effective for addressing chronic diseases ranging from diabetes, COPD and osteoarthritis to brain injuries, cystic fibrosis and musculoskeletal disorders.
Physical therapy provides the expertise and technology to improve balance and sports performance, makes environmental and ergonomic changes that facilitate movement and a better quality of life. Treatments also reduce the risk of injury and assist patients in the use of mobility aids. Therapies are valuable for addressing emotional and psychological issues. They help patients engage in smoking cessation, anger and stress management, weight loss and substance abuse programs. Sepsis, asthma, organ failure and seasonal affective disorder can all be alleviated with physical therapy.
Physical therapy is typically administered within the clinic, but maintenance programs can be designed for home use. Therapies are appropriate for patients of all ages, from premature infants to seniors. They help injuries heal, alleviate pain, and work with the body’s own abilities to facilitate recoveries.
Current acute and past injuries with lingering symptoms can be treated successfully with physical therapy. It’s beneficial for alleviating the rigors and side effects of cancer treatments. Therapists offer gait assessments and training to rid patients of unproductive habits and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of movement. Therapies can be use alone or in combination with other methods that best meet the patient’s needs.
Clinical Pilates, aerobics, resistance training and yoga can be used to improve flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous to be beneficial and the methods utilized by physical therapists are designed to facilitate mobility, not create bulk.
Manual manipulation and mobilization aids can help patients with disabilities or who may not be able to participate fully in therapy. Aquatic therapy reduces body weight by 10 percent, enabling individuals to perform movements that might be impossible with the gravity of dry land, improving strength and balance. Treatments can also be designed to reduce inflammation that causes swelling and pain, reducing the need for prescription medications.
Those engaged in sports will benefit from therapeutic massage, dry needling and cupping to ease stress, improve endurance, balance and agility, and help in reducing the risk of injury. Therapies are safe for women during pregnancy and in alleviating the discomfort of breastfeeding. Ultrasounds, electrical stimulation and heat and cold therapies are beneficial for muscle, joint and neurological disorders and aid in maintaining the health of soft tissues.
Patients don’t have to sustain a catastrophic injury to benefit from physical therapy. The techniques and advanced technology is available to any patient with pain, dysfunction or chronic disease to improve their quality of life.