Physical Therapy – PT Techniques
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a medical specialty that utilizes a variety of modalities, manual treatments, exercises and education to help patients regain or improve their mobility. Physical therapists work with patients of all ages to maximize the quality of life and return patients to their previous physical abilities. Therapy is performed by a physical therapist or a physical therapist’s assistant, both of whom are required to have extensive training. A diagnosis and treatment plan is established by the physical therapist based on the patient’s history and a physical examination. Each treatment plan is individualized to meet the needs of each specific patient because all physical therapy techniques are not appropriate for every injury.
What does physical therapy entail?
Rehabilitation includes a variety of common physical therapy techniques and treatments that are specifically designed to address injuries sustained by the structures of the musculoskeletal system: bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage.
- Hot/Cold packs can prepare muscles for exercise and manipulation or reduce inflammation to make movement less painful.
- Electrical stimulation activates nerves in damaged tissues to help develop strength and stability. It can also be used to reduce pain.
- Ultrasound generates sound waves that are transferred to a specific part of the body using a probe. The sound waves travel deep into tissue creating gentle heat.
- Medical massage is an outcome-based massage that applies specific treatments targeted to physical therapy to help muscles function.
- Strength and stability exercises are used to help the body reestablish the proper function of the musculoskeletal tissues.
- Stretching tight muscles and joints can help relieve pain and get patients back to their previous range of motion.
- Manual techniques are used to improve/restore range of motion, reduce dysfunction, improve biomechanics/strength, improve tissue mobility, and decrease pain.