In physical therapy, medical experts examine and treat abnormal physical conditions such as disease, disability, injury or impairment.
Certified physical therapists can be found in a wide variety of environments such medical research centres, government agencies, occupational settings, hospices, schools, fitness and sports settings, home health, nursing homes, rehab centres, hospitals, private practices and outpatient healthcare facilities. Thank goodness for The Good Physio!
What to Expect
Physical therapy can be beneficial to individuals of all ages with a variety of conditions.
A physical therapist looks after patients throughout the course of their treatment, from when they are first diagnosed through the preventive and restorative stages of recovery. Physical therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or can be part of other treatment regimens.
Some of the most common medical conditions that are treated using physical therapy include:
– Pelvic floor dysfunction and women’s health such as lymphedema and urinary incontinence.
– Sports-related injuries, such as tennis elbow and concussion.
– Pediatric conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
– Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, and vestibular dysfunction.
– Musculoskeletal dysfunction such as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), rotator cuff tears and back pain.
– Hand therapy for conditions such as trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.
– Cardiopulmonary conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF), and post-myocardial infarction (MI).
– Other cases that may benefit include diabetic ulcers, wound care and burns.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
– Improved balance
– Recovery from paralysis or stroke
– Recovery from trauma or injury
– Improved movement and mobility
– Avoiding surgery
– Management of aged-related medical conditions
– A sports physical therapist can assist an athlete to improve their performance by strengthening specific parts of their body and helping them use their muscles to the best of their ability.
Physical therapy can assist an individual to regain mobility or movement after an illness or injury. Just like any treatment, a wide range of therapies can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Orthopaedic physical therapy deals with musculoskeletal injuries that affects tendons, fascias, ligaments, bones and muscles. It is ideal for medical conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, sprains, fractures, chronic health conditions and recovery or rehabilitation from orthopaedic surgery. Treatment may be combined with movement training, strength training, manual therapy, joint mobilisations and other modalities.
Geriatric physical therapy is mostly reserved for older patients who suffer from medical conditions that affect their physical function and mobility, including incontinence, balance disorders, joint and hop replacement, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and arthritis. This type of treatment is used to increase fitness levels, reduce pain and restore mobility.
Neurological physical therapy can assist individuals with neurological conditions and disorders like stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment may aim to increase muscle strength by minimising muscle atrophy, treat paralysis and increase limb responsiveness.
Pulmonary and Cardiovascular rehabilitation can be of help to people who suffer from cardiopulmonary conditions or those who have undergone cardiac surgery. Treatment can help to improve stamina and endurance.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation can assist with pelvic pain in women and men that is caused by surgery or injuries, or particular conditions, urinal urgency and faecal or urinary incontinence.
Aside from physical manipulation, physical therapy also deals with:
– Light therapy, where lasers and special lights are used to treat certain health conditions
– Cold, Heat, and moist heat therapy
– E-stim or Electrical stimulation which involves placing topical electrodes on the skin to increase functional capabilities and reduce pain. One kind of E-stim therapy is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Sometimes, anti-inflammatory drugs are used together with certain E-stim therapies and is called iontophoresis
– Phonophoresis, where ultrasound is used give certain medications such as topical steroids. This can reduce inflammation
– Ultrasound, to promote healing and blood flow by heating tissues, muscle and tendons.
Finding a Physical Therapist
Locating a good physical therapist can be affected by numerous factors such as geographical jurisdiction, reason for treatment, insurance acceptance and many others.
Insurance providers often have lists of approved physical therapists and clinics that can be accessed under your health plan. Most healthcare institutions have lists of physical therapists in the areas whom they work with on a regular basis.