Physical therapy can help a patient who has suffered an injury or illness regain mobility and function.
A doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help a patient with the following:
- Relieve pain
- Adjust to an artificial limb or an assistive device like a walker
- Recover from surgery or injury
- Improve balance, strength, or range of motion
- Manage a chronic illness like osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, or heart disease
Types of Physical Therapy
There are many types of physical therapy. For example, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation helps people with conditions affecting the cardiovascular system and/or lungs. It can also help people who have undergone certain surgeries. The therapist will help the patient improve their stamina and endurance.
Geriatric physical therapy helps older patients with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, balance problems, incontinence. While the exact treatments vary depending on the patient’s needs, common goals will include improving mobility and fitness and reducing pain.
Neurological physical therapy is for people with neurological problems like stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis. The therapist may help the patient recover from paralysis and increase the responsiveness of their limbs. They may also help the patient exercise to reduce or prevent muscle atrophy.
Orthopedic physical therapy helps people recover from injuries affecting the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The therapist will help patients recover from fractures, sprains, and various surgical procedures. The patient will perform various exercises to improve their strength and mobility.
Pediatric physical therapy is similar to orthopedic physical therapy, but the patients are children and adolescents. They may have birth defects like spinal bifida and cerebral palsy, or they may have injured a bone or muscle.
What is Manual Therapy?
Manual or manipulative therapy is a physical therapy technique that the therapist uses to treat various disorders of the skeleton and muscles. It can include manipulating the patient’s joints and limbs, massage, and stretching. Manual therapy is intended to temporarily reduce pain and improve the patient’s mobility.
What is Vestibular Training?
Vestibular training or rehabilitation is a type of physical therapy aimed at helping people with balance problems or excessive dizziness. Such problems are often caused by disorders of the inner ear. Patients with such conditions often become increasingly sedentary in order to avoid falling. Thus, part of their physical therapy will be aimed at increasing their overall fitness and getting them moving again. The therapist will also teach them exercises that will them cope with dizzy spells and/or improve their balance. Some patients also have vision problems: Objects they’re looking at seem to jump around, especially when the patient is moving. In this case, the therapist will teach the patient eye and head exercises to help them stabilize their gaze and see more clearly.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy or water therapy can involve the use of saunas, foot baths, steam baths, and hot and cold water to treat a variety of conditions affecting the muscles and/or skeleton. It can also be used to help people recover from sports injuries. Hydrotherapy is a very old medical tradition; some techniques were used by the ancient Romans.