What do physical therapists do?
Physical therapists examine, evaluate and treat patients who have conditions that affect their ability to move freely and without pain.
How can a physical therapist help?
Physical therapists help patients in three key areas:
- Improved Mobility and Motion: From everyday activities like going to the grocery store to performing essential job duties to sports activities, such as golf, swimming or soccer, physical therapists employ one-on-one, manual therapy techniques to get patients moving again. This also helps them prevent future injuries as a result of improved strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. In short, physical therapists help patients take an active role in getting healthy and staying healthy.
- Providing a Conservative Alternative to Surgery: Many conditions have been successfully treated through non-invasive physical therapy, which has helped patients delay and even avoid surgery altogether. For people whose conditions preclude surgery as an option, physical therapy can help them maintain and even improve the quality of their lives. Even if surgery is necessary, physical therapists can enhance the outcome both before and after the procedure.
- Reducing or Eliminating the Need for Prescription Medication: Physical therapists and their trained staff can help patients manage pain by developing passive and active physical therapy programs to correct improper habits, alignments and movement patterns and to help control the body's reaction to pain.
Examples of active physical therapy can include:
- Stretching & Strengthening Exercises
- Low-impact Aerobics
- Manipulation of Joints and Bones
- Manual Therapy Using Hands or Tools on Soft Tissue (e.g., Graston Technique, McKenzie Method, etc.)
Examples of passive physical therapy can include:
- Hot & Cold Therapy
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Units
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Dry Needling
Conditions that typically respond well to physical therapy include:
- General Orthopedics (pain and dysfunction in the knee, shoulder, foot/ankle, wrist/hand, hip, elbow)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
- Low Back, Mid Back, or Neck Pain
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Radiculopathy, Numbness, Tingling
- Sacroiliac Dysfunction / Pelvic Girdle Dysfunction
- Spondylolisthesis, Stenosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Vertebral Disc Herniation
- Sport Related Injuries
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Work Related Injuries