What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a treatment method for improving movement and functionality that have been compromised by age, disease or injury. Patients recover through the use of restorative exercises that focus on muscle strength, flexibility, soft tissue mobility, balance, postural training, coordination, modalities and overall pain relief. Physical therapy is also designed to prevent reinjury and maximize patient quality of life.
What Kinds Of Conditions Can Physical Therapy Treat?
Physical therapy is used to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions. Patients with orthopedic injury, generalized pain, post-surgical procedures, arthritic conditions, and neurological diseases may benefit from physical therapy.
What Happens During The First Physical Therapy Session?
On your first physical therapy session, the therapist will perform a thorough physical evaluation including an examination, discuss the patient’s pathology, develop a treatment program and plan specific to the patient’s needs and goals. A customized physical therapy plan typically includes a combination of exercises, manual therapy treatments and minimally invasive techniques.
What Happens During A Typical Physical Therapy Follow-Up Session?
A typical physical therapy follow-up session can differ depending on the needs of each patient. In general, each session will include manual therapy techniques, therapeutic exercises, therapeutic activities, neuromuscular re-education, postural training, functional mobility training and modalities.
- Manual Therapy
- Joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), Flexibility/stretching
- Therapeutic Exercises
- Exercises to increase strength, stability, mobility and flexibility that generally progress in both difficulty and intensity during the course of treatment.
- Therapeutic Activities
- Activities that involve the use of functional, dynamic tasks for everyday living to improve range of motion and strength within those parameters (e.g. the ability to sit to stand from a chair via squatting).
- Neuromuscular Re-Education
- Exercises and techniques to improve functional movement, balance, coordination, kinesthetic sense, posture, and proprioception.
- Postural training
- Exercises and techniques to improve the alignment of a patients body to an equilibrium/balance of joint position from the head to the feet.
- Treatment techniques used to reduce pain such as moist heat, cryotherapy, electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound.
Exercises usually progress in difficulty and intensity during the course of treatment. Each session typically ends with icing or therapeutic massage to help the patient cool down. The patient’s progress may be discussed after each session to determine whether changes to treatment are required.
How Long Does A Physical Therapy Program Take To Complete?
The length of a physical therapy program varies depending on the type and severity of the condition being treated, as well as the amount of progress made throughout treatment. Shorter courses of treatment (such as generalized pain) last between 4 to 12 weeks. Longer courses of treatment (post surgical cases) last between 4-6 months.
How Often Are Physical Therapy Sessions Needed?
The frequency of sessions depends on the patient’s condition, but two to three sessions per week is considered average.
What Should Be Worn During Physical Therapy?
Patients are encouraged to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement. For patients with ankle or knee injuries, wearing shorts is recommended.
Is Physical Therapy Covered By Insurance?
In most cases, physical therapy is covered by insurance, although a copayment may be required for each session. Please call our office to have your benefits verified.
Should Additional Exercises Be Performed At Home To Help Speed Recovery?
Your physical therapist will create a specific Home Exercise Program including exercises that can safely be performed at home to speed the recovery rate; the therapist provides specific instructions on which, and how often, home exercises can and should be performed. It is always encouraged to ask your therapists any, and all, questions regarding your therapy treatment.