Physical therapy (PT) is one of the most beneficial treatments for people living with pain, stiffness, a physical injury, or a decrease in mobility. It’s also a beneficial tool for people who are trying to start an exercise routine, optimize sports performance, or manage the physical limitations that come with aging.
At some point in your life, you’ll probably need physical therapy. So keep reading to learn more about what physical therapists do and how they can help you enjoy the activities you love for years to come.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists are movement experts, and their job is to help people move more efficiently — whether that’s for work, sports, exercise or daily activities. All physical therapists have expertise in the musculoskeletal system and some have specialized training in specific areas of the body.
They work with people of all ages — from teenagers recovering from a sports injury to elderly individuals struggling with daily activities due to arthritis. You can find physical therapists in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities, fitness centers and sports clinics. Some therapists will come to your home to administer therapy after an injury or illness.
Physical therapy is a conservative treatment method with a few primary goals:
- Reducing pain
- Promoting healing
- Restoring functional mobility
- Preventing future injuries
- Avoiding surgery
- Managing chronic conditions
- Preventing disability
As movement experts, physical therapists can help you relieve pain, restore function and range of motion, adapt activities to reduce pain and prevent injury, improve ergonomics and posture, increase body awareness and body mechanics, and enhance sports performance.
When Do You Need Physical Therapy?
There are a lot of reasons you may need physical therapy — perhaps more than you might think. Physical therapists specialize in treating the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and nerves. Pain, stiffness, and loss of ability to move normally due to pain or an injury — these are common signs that it’s time to see a physical therapist for help.
Common reasons people seek physical therapy include:
- Back or neck pain
- Shoulder, hand and wrist injuries
- Hip, knee, ankle and feet injuries
- Sports-related injuries
- Pain following a car accident
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains and tears
- Overuse or repetitive motion injuries
- Post-surgical rehabilitation
- Post-fracture rehabilitation
- Balance and coordination issues
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack
- Neuro-rehabilitation following stroke or spinal cord injury
- Management of a neurological disorder like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
- Cancer recovery
- Chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia
- Respiratory disorders like COPD
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be injured to seek physical therapy. A therapist can help you with your overall fitness and wellness goals, whether you’re just starting out a new exercise program or you’re an athlete looking to improve performance. A therapist will evaluate your current fitness, mobility and endurance levels, then work with you to identify and correct weaknesses and create a personalized plan to help you meet your goals.
What Does a PT Program Include?
Physical therapists have a lot of tools at their disposal. When you meet with a therapist, he or she will take your medical history and provide a full evaluation to assess your strength, range of motion, flexibility, balance, postural habits and movement patterns. Next, your therapist will create a personalized plan to help reduce pain, improve strength and mobility, correct weakness and imbalances, and get you back to optimal movement.
PT treatment plans can include:
- Stretches and exercises
- Functional training
- Massage therapy
- Heat and ice therapies
- Dry needling
Physical therapy requires several sessions to be effective. Your therapist will monitor your program to track progress and make adjustments as necessary. At the end of your program, your therapist will determine if you can safely return to work, sports, exercise or daily activities.
Find the Best PT Programs at BEST Surgery and Therapies
BEST Surgery and Therapies offers comprehensive, personalized physical therapy programs with board-certified physical therapists in our state-of-the-art facility in Cincinnati, OH. After an extensive evaluation, a board-certified therapist will provide one-on-one care designed to treat not just the injury, but the overall person. Because our physical therapists understand each patient’s unique physical challenges, better, quicker results are possible, as well as a reduced risk of future injury.
If you’re living with pain, an injury, or reduced mobility, please call us at 513-540-0889 to speak with a dedicated Patient Experience Coordinator and schedule your first appointment.