Physical Therapy Basics, Treatment Options, and Benefits

Physical therapy is a fantastic treatment option for improving movement while relieving pain. It also helps improve your fitness level and restore a loss of physical function resulting from illness or injury. The most basic goal of physical therapy is to make it easier for you. This is done by helping improve your ability to perform daily tasks and activities. Many patients undergo this type of treatment when they have difficulty walking, using stairs, or getting out of bed.

At A Family Chiropractic Clinic we provide our patients with several treatment options including physical therapy. Many of our patients come to us when recovering from surgery, injury, or illness. We also see several patients who suffer from long-term problems such as arthritis. A great benefit of physical therapy is its versatility. It is effective when used on its own or with any of our other treatment options. We evaluate each patient case carefully to ensure we are providing the best individually customized treatment plan possible.

What Does Physical Therapy Include?

Your first visit to a physical therapist begins much like it would at any other health care provider. You begin by filling out paperwork about your health history and your symptoms. You’ll then speak with the physical therapist about your symptoms and daily activities. After your exam you will work together to set goals and create a one of a kind treatment plan. These goals typically include:

  • Improved joint flexibility
  • Improved strength
  • Increased endurance
  • Better coordination
  • Better balance

The first step in any treatment plan is to reduce the immediate pain and swelling caused by the injury. Your physical therapist may use other techniques to target your problem specifically. Physical therapy is commonly combined with other therapeutic options to improve recovery time. These additional therapies often include:

  • Exercise
  • Manual therapy
  • Education
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Water
  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical

Exercise is one of the most important aspects of physical therapy. Depending on your needs, your physical therapist may suggest and encourage you to do specific activities. This ensures you understand the proper form and technique for each specific activity. Performing the activities correctly is vital in preventing additional injuries. Some of the exercises included in physical therapy specifically include:

  • Stretching
  • Core exercises
  • Weight training
  • Walking
  • Yoga

In most cases you will can do these exercises at home. However, some may require the use of a gym of physical therapy center. It’s not unusual for the exercises to cause mild soreness. However, if the minor pain or swelling is too much then speak with your physical therapist about possibly modifying your treatment plan.

Types of Physical Therapy

There are many different types of physical therapy. Your treatment plan is customized to your specific needs by selecting therapies that help with your condition. In addition to your regular daily activity you will want to follow your physical therapist’s instructions and exercise routine. This will get you started on the right foot by improving flexibility, strength, coordination, endurance, and balance.

Simple adjustments to your lifestyle can also help improve these qualities and shorten your recovery time. For example, walking a little further every day is a great way to increase your exercise and fitness levels without putting too much stress on your body. Incorporating additional activity into your daily routine can also help:

  • Reduce stress on joints
  • Increase core stability
  • Increase back strength

Manual Physical Therapy

Manual physical therapy is performed primarily with the hands by the physical therapist. The intention behind this style of therapy is to provide relaxation, increased flexibility, and decrease pain. Specific types of manual therapy include:

  • Massage
  • Mobilization
  • Manipulation

All three of these techniques use slow, measured movements to manually adjust the body. These movements help place bones and joints into proper position. They also help loosen tight tissues to improve flexibility.

Education

A large portion of physical therapy is about education. Having the proper knowledge of how to perform daily tasks and exercises is especially important. Your physical therapist will help you understand how to:

  • Safely perform daily tasks
  • Exercise safely
  • Properly use assistive devices such as walkers
  • Making your home a safe place

By understanding how your body is designed to move and working within those parameters you reduce your risk of injury. Being educated about your posture is particularly important. Poor posture is one of the leading causes in physical injuries. Your physical therapist will show you how to move properly during all tasks and activities.

Other Physical Therapy Treatments

It’s common for other treatments to be used in conjunction with physical therapy. Heat is often used to promote relaxation and increasing blood circulation. While cold and ice are used to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation. Water, or hydrotherapy, uses water exercise to help patients. Ultrasound therapy also eases muscle spasms and relieves pain and inflammation. Whereas electrical stimulation helps reduce the feeling of pain. Your physical therapy treatment plan may involve a number of these add on therapies to specifically help treat your condition more effectively.

Treating with Physical Therapy

When used under the supervision of a trained physical therapist, these therapies can help your situation. Many people who are recovering from an injury seek out physical therapy for its ability to reduce pain, build strength, improve flexibility, and improve range of motion. These improvements also help prevent future injuries.

Physical therapy is also frequently used to help people suffering from ongoing health conditions. You and your physical therapist will work together to establish obtainable goals that you can work towards. Physical therapy is also a great tool for health conditions that result in long term rehabilitation. Major surgeries or health events can leave lasting effects on your body. Most patients who’ve experienced these situations benefit from physical therapy and regain some or all function. Ongoing physical therapy has also shown promising results for those with continuing conditions.

Call A Family Chiropractic Clinic today at (940) 566-0000 to learn more about the services we offer for physical therapy.