What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy Hazlet New Jersey involves learning exercises that improve mobility, movement, and strength. The goal is to improve mobility to participate in daily activities without pain or discomfort.Physical Therapy

PT uses heat, ice, electrical stimulation, and iontophoresis (injection of medication through the skin) to strengthen muscles, reduce pain and swelling, and ease muscle spasms.

As its name suggests, physical therapy is a treatment to reduce pain, improve movement and treat certain health conditions. It can be used to prevent future problems, as well as aid recovery after injuries or surgeries. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist, or you can choose to visit one on your own.

Physical therapy uses exercises, massages and treatments based on physical stimuli such as heat, cold or electrical currents to strengthen muscles, relieve pain, improve movement and speed up healing. They also teach you the exercises and stretches you need to do at home to continue treatment between sessions.

Your first session begins with the therapist performing a detailed evaluation of your problem. He or she will ask you about your past medical history and your current symptoms, and then perform several tests to determine the strength of your muscles and joints. These tests can include a series of range-of-motion movements, or the therapist might use specialized equipment to measure how your body moves.

After this initial evaluation, your physical therapist will explain your diagnosis and create a treatment plan. This might include manual therapy techniques, which are hands-on techniques your physical therapist might employ to improve the mobility of tight or locked joints, for example, or to reduce scar tissue buildup after surgery or injury.

Other treatments might include hot and cold therapy, including warm baths, ice packs or heat lamps. Your therapist might also apply special tape, called Kinesiology Tape, or use ultrasound, which involves transmitting high-frequency sound waves into muscles and tissues to help relax them. A form of electrotherapy called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, is another common form of PT. It uses a small battery-operated device to send tiny electrical impulses into your muscles, helping them contract and decrease pain.

Exercises are a big part of your PT treatment, and they usually involve moving a joint in a specific way to increase your range-of-motion or to promote muscle strength. Your therapist will show you these exercises and encourage you to practice them at home between your sessions, as they’re likely to be the most effective in improving your condition.

Occupational Therapy

OTs help people with physical, cognitive, and emotional needs in a variety of settings. They analyze the client’s environment to identify barriers and obstacles that hinder their ability to participate in their daily lives. They work with patients to design programs and implement solutions that enable engagement in their preferred activities. They may also assist with wound management, such as applying specialized cuffs and bands to restrict blood flow or stimulate the body’s natural healing process.

A patient might need short-term physical therapy to treat an injury or to manage a health condition like pain and stiffness, or they might need long-term treatment to help them adjust to living with a chronic disability. PTs work with referring doctors to ensure that the doctor’s treatment goals are met.

Some PTs specialize in treating particular groups of people, such as elderly persons with back or neck pain, athletes recovering from sports injuries, infants with developmental disabilities, and individuals who have had amputations. Others focus on a specific type of treatment, such as electrotherapy, wound care therapy, or blood flow restriction therapy (BFR).

Physical therapists use their knowledge of surgery and rehabilitation to develop individualized treatments for each patient. They may use massage, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, or other methods to encourage tissue growth, improve range of motion, relieve pain, and ease tension.

The PTs’ goal is to help each person restore and maintain his or her most functional level of independence. This is especially important for people who have a disability that can’t be corrected with medication or surgery. They might need to learn new ways of doing their daily activities, such as dressing or bathing.

PTs aren’t medical doctors (MDs or DOs), so they can’t diagnose health conditions, prescribe medication, or perform surgeries. They do, however, recommend and explain medical procedures and provide referrals to other healthcare professionals if needed. They’ll often work closely with occupational therapists to provide clients with comprehensive, integrated care. This team approach can lead to better results and a quicker return to everyday life. Whether or not a patient is happy with their results depends on the relationship they build with their therapist and how well they follow a plan to reach their goals.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists use hands-on treatment and exercises to help patients with pain and mobility problems due to illness or injury. PT practitioners may also assist with developing and administering a patient’s care plan, including instructions on home treatments. They are trained to evaluate a patient’s condition and develop specific physical therapy goals that are tailored to the patient’s needs.

Most states require that a physical therapist have a doctor’s referral to treat patients in private practice. However, some hospitals will allow a PT to perform treatment on patients under a physician’s orders. It is also important to check with your insurance provider about the cost of a visit, as some will not cover all costs.

Many PTs specialize in a particular area of the body. For example, a neurological PT specializes in treating the nervous and spinal systems, such as spinal cord injuries, aneurysm, brain injuries, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions that affect balance, movement, and coordination. A pediatric physical therapist treats children with developmental and motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy.

The most commonly used method of treatment by a physical therapist is manual therapy, in which the therapist uses his or her hands to manipulate the joints and muscles. The goal of this type of physical therapy is to improve mobility and reduce pain by increasing muscle flexibility and decreasing joint stiffness and tension.

Besides manual manipulation, other types of physical therapy treatment include massage, hot and cold treatments, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. Ultrasound involves transmitting sound waves that encourage blood flow and increase the range of motion in injured muscles and joints.

Other specialized areas of physical therapy include cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, which helps patients manage respiratory diseases; and geriatric physical therapy, which addresses issues common to the older population, such as falls and muscle weakness. The baby boomer generation will drive demand for PT services as they enter the prime age for sports and exercise-related injuries, as well as heart attacks, strokes, and arthritis.

Students wishing to become physical therapists must earn a degree from an accredited university program. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as kinesiology, exercise science, or health sciences is usually required. Some PT programs offer a 3 + 3 program format, in which students first complete three years of undergraduate courses and then advance to a professional doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) program.

Occupational Therapists

Physical therapists work with people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and function normally. PT can help relieve pain, improve mobility and reduce the need for surgery or prescription medications. Some people need physical therapy for short-term rehab after an injury or surgery; others work with a PT to manage chronic health issues, like arthritis.

PTs may treat patients in hospitals, rehabilitation/research centers, community settings, schools, gyms/fitness clubs, home care agencies, business/enterprises and private practices. PTs may specialize in a number of areas including cardiovascular and pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, geriatrics, oncology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, sports and women’s health.

A PT may use a variety of techniques and exercises to help alleviate a patient’s pain and mobility issues. These can include soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, manual muscle stimulation and neuromuscular re-education (a technique that retrains the muscles in a more normal pattern of movement). Often, a PT will provide patients with exercises they can do at home to improve their condition.

In addition, a PT may use assistive devices to help patients with mobility issues. This can be anything from a wheelchair to an artificial leg or arm. PTs are also trained to evaluate and monitor other health-related conditions that affect a person’s ability to move and function, like cognition, vision, medications and mood.

Many PTs also become certified specialists in specific areas of medicine. This means they have completed additional education and passed an exam to demonstrate their expertise. Some areas of specialization include:

PTs are highly educated and must have excellent interpersonal skills to build trust with their patients. They should be able to answer any questions or concerns a patient may have and explain treatment options in an easy-to-understand way. During a session, the PT will evaluate the patient’s pain and mobility levels and create an individualized plan of care for him or her. The PT will also work with other members of the health care team, like nurses and physician assistants, to ensure that all needs are met.

Effie Hickerson