This article discusses physical therapy in detail included what it is, what types of patients and injuries physical therapists treat, and much more.
What is it?
Physical Therapy is a more natural treatment for injuries as an alternative to drugs or surgery. Physical therapists focus on the development/re-development of muscles, increasing movement in the joints, reducing pain, restoring function, and preventing disability. Physical therapy patients who suffer pain as a result of injury or hereditary illness can benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapists use many techniques to treat patients, including hands-on massage, machines such as a treadmill to increase motion, or exercise equipment to help increase mobility. Chronic pain can be addressed through physical therapy as well.
The type of people who might seek physical therapists for relief are people who have pain/discomfort from mobility. For example, someone who had a minor knee injury a few years ago might suffer from knee pain while exercising. Surgery is an option, but physical therapy might be a healthier option. This patient could benefit from strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and take some of the stress off of the knee joint. Physical therapy can only do so much for someone. If someone needs a knee replaced, surgery might be the best option. This patient, however, would benefit from physical therapy after surgery.
What types of injuries do they treat?
There are many types of injuries that physical therapists treat, but for the most part, they treat injuries related to:
- Ligaments and Tendons
- Lower Back Pain
The goal of physical therapy when it comes to treating injuries is to promote movement and function in the human body.
What types of treatment do they provide?
There are several types of treatment that physical therapists use, which include but are not limited to:
- Exercise - for overall physical health
- Ultrasound - for tissue heating and healing (muscles, tendons, etc.)
- Electrical Stimulation - treats muscle pain and muscle spasms
- Traction - treats the spine with decompression
- Joint Mobilization - manual treatment, a ‘hands-on’ technique used by many physical therapists
- Massage/Heat/Ice - ‘hands-on’ technique to help soreness/tightness in muscles
When someone has surgery to fix or restore something in their body, physical therapy may be of benefit to them to re-develop the muscles and joints. The surgery recovery time can be lengthy, but physical therapy can help speed up the recovery time. Surgery can do many things that physical therapy cannot, but they can complement each other. Physical therapy can provide patients who have had surgery with great benefit to recovery, and even speed up the recovery process. Major surgeries usually need time to recover, and sometimes require lots of bedrest. Some leg surgeries require elevation in order to prevent excess swelling. Minor surgeries sometimes are performed so the patient does not have to take anesthesia.
Chronic pain is described as pain occurring from irritation, inflammation and recurring pain. The pain is said to be present even after someone has healed from an injury. While there is no known cure for chronic pain, physical therapy can help reduce the amount of pain someone is experiencing. Physical therapy is considered a healthy alternative to drugs and surgery, but if someone has to have surgery for chronic pain, physical therapy can help with.
If a patient has suffered an injury or had a surgical procedure on their knee, they may have reduced motion or mobilization in that knee joint. Physical therapists target those specific joints and treat them. When someone cannot run, exercise, or even walk, it can be difficult to deal with mentally and physically. The patient would be advised to see a physical therapist for treatment and pain relief. The physical therapist would diagnose the current mobility and motion of the knee and set goals to increase the mobility and motion. The exercises and techniques used to treat a knee injury or knee surgery will be set at a pace to help but not hurt the patient. The joint in someone’s knee is crucial for everyday life.