Physical Therapy is among the Medical healthcare professions that use evidence-based medical practice, diagnosis, treatment, exercise, rehabilitation, coordination, and active release. Address chronic or acute pain, limitation, motor skills impairments, musculoskeletal disorders, and functional abilities. PT may incorporate specialties such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, radiation oncology, geriatric, neurology, pediatrics, cardiology, and vascular medicine. There are many modalities and fields of physical therapy: PT has a wide variety of modalities, including manual techniques such as massage, physical planning and manipulation, strength training, weight management, stretching and strength training, balance and coordination, and electrotherapy. Physical therapy research is continuing rapidly, examining new techniques, promoting better training methods, and offering better patient care. PT is evolving into a science of prevention and rehabilitation.
Orthopedic physical therapy (OT) is a specialized discipline to treat conditions related to the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. OT provides a comprehensive range of services to address a broad range of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, with an emphasis on treating pain and injury. OT is an academic specialty that requires a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy, but there are programs available for physical therapy students who already have an advanced degree in another field, such as nursing. A physical therapist works under the supervision of a licensed physical doctor, typically an orthopedist, and is supervised throughout his career by the physician. OT provides additional symptom management, such as exercises for stress management, strength maintenance, and range of motion and movement training, to improve functional independence and physical function through assessment, diagnostic testing, and therapeutic exercises.
Massage and athletic physical therapy (CAT) are examples of integrated treatments that many physical therapists use to help their patients overcome physical limitations. CAT usually involves massage to release tight or sore muscles and to increase mobility and range of motion; it also includes stretching to improve flexibility. Many people use CAT to manage injuries and chronic conditions related to aging, such as osteoarthritis and stiffness. Both physical therapy and CAT can provide symptom management, stretching, diagnostic imaging, and therapy recommendations for pain management. Physical therapy can also refer patients to appropriate specialists for specific issues.
The goal of physical therapy is to improve the patient’s ability to move and to manage functional independence. Physical therapists work with their patients to restore mobility to the body after an injury or illness causes functional limitation. Often physical therapists work with patients on a one-to-one basis, although several physical therapy departments work together as part of a larger team. They may work together to design a personalized program of exercises and safety precautions for the patient. Some physical therapy departments may also refer patients to other specialists, including chiropractors and other specialists who may need to be consulted for joint issues not addressed by the initial physical therapy.
In the past, physical therapy services were limited to hospitals and medical clinics. However, today there are more than 250 physical therapy services located in hospitals, assisted living communities, outpatient clinics, and other health care facilities. Many physical therapy services are also found at the office of a family doctor or in specialized offices devoted to the treatment of injuries and disabilities. Because physical therapy services are offered in a variety of health care settings, they are often covered by health insurance plans, making them affordable for most patients.
The scope of physical therapy services has expanded to include rehabilitation and post-surgery care. For some patients, physical therapy services help them achieve functional mobility after a traumatic accident, a debilitating illness, or after a severe injury. For other patients, physical therapy helps them deal with the stress and frustration of chronic illness or after a traumatic experience. A physical therapist will help a patient discover and achieve joint and muscle strength and mobility. The goals of rehabilitation and physical therapy vary according to the patient’s needs.
Spinal cord injuries, birth defects, birth injuries, and related neurological disorders are the most common reasons for physical therapy. People suffering from cerebral palsy can benefit from rehabilitation and pelvic floor exercises. A patient who has been injured on the pelvic floor as a result of a work-related accident can benefit from special exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the pelvis. A patient suffering from a degenerative condition such as spinal cord injuries may need to relearn proper movement after a serious accident that immobilized him from walking. A physical therapist may tailor a rehabilitation program to meet the needs of a patient with a particular condition.
The role of physical therapists is quite varied. A skilled physical therapist can stretch and exercise muscles in patients with a variety of conditions. They can stretch and heal muscles that have become stiff due to age or injury. They can apply colloidal chemical therapies or ointments to the skin of patients with varying skin types. They can perform therapeutic massage techniques and use therapeutic exercise machines. Overall, physical therapists work with their patients to help them regain their freedom of movement or use of their bodies even if they cannot physically do so.