Physical Therapy – What It Entails

Your Doctor has Recommended Therapy; What’s Next?

Physical therapy is a health care specialty concerned with treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system and it’s interaction with physical movement.

Every day people suffer injuries in one way or another. Grandparents are suffering debilitating strokes, while mothers, suffering with multiple sclerosis, begin to show its crippling effects resulting in their no longer being able to climb in and out of their own vehicle. Perhaps more tragic still are the newborn babies who are injured during childbirth and who arrive in the world partially paralyzed or worse. These and other scenarios are common day occurrences to those who work within the medical field. However, for sufferers of these diseases, these are scary diagnoses that are unfamiliar. Your doctor is likely to prescribe a round of therapies administered by a group of practitioners called therapists. If your problem is physical you will be referred to a physical therapist for physical therapy.

What is a Physical Therapist?

The physical therapist is a licensed professional who holds a masters or doctorate degree in physical therapy. They work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, out-patient facilities, schools, and nursing homes. In some cases after your initial evaluation you may begin working with the physical therapist assistant. Together they work to produce the most benefit for your time and money.

What is Therapeutic Rehabilitation?

The dictionary definition of the branch of therapeutic rehabilitation known as physical therapy includes such words as “preservation,” “enhancement” and “restoration.” In the field of physical therapy, the goal is to rehabilitate a person who has suffered an injury and is consequently disabled or not able to function normally. Through these therapies the therapist hopes to preserve and enhance the current functions and abilities while working toward restoring any lost function. An example might include the partial paralysis often seen with stroke victims.

What Happens During Therapy?

Normally the physician or orthopedic surgeon prescribes a number of therapy visits once he believes the patient has recovered enough in order to begin the rehabilitative process. During these sessions the patient is first evaluated and given a prognosis with regard to how they might be helped by the therapy. The therapist then suggests a plan including the number of visits/hours per week the patient will need to participate. Your doctor may also suggest you use a home pain relief kits like these sold by Solohealth.

The therapies often involve exercise, physical modalities such as massage and electrotherapy, assistive devices and what is known as physiotherapy. Physiotherapy involves educating and training the patient to be able to perform certain exercises at home. It is imperative that the patient work on his or her therapy at home as well as while with the therapist.

Individual results from therapy varies from person to person. However, in most cases and with time the benefits far outweigh the time and energy required while on this road to recovery. Early treatments seem to offer the best long-term results. If you believe you would be a good candidate for physical therapy, speak with your physician about your concerns.