A physical therapist is a professional who has been educated and trained to treat and evaluate abnormal physical functions due to disease, injury or disability.
A licensed physical therapist can be found in several medical settings which can include: hospitals, nursing homes, private practices, outpatient offices, rehab facilities, hospices, government agencies, sports and fitness facilities, schools, professional sports teams and research centres. You can find a physiotherapist in Exeter, or London, or wherever it is that you live.
What You Can Expect From a Physical Therapist
A physical therapist can help individuals dealing with a wide range of conditions.
Physical therapy helps individuals during the various phases of healing which can began with the initial diagnosis through the preventative and restorative stages of recovery. Physical therapy can be considered a stand alone option or may be used in conjunction with other treatments.
A few of the various conditions that can benefit from this form of treatment include:
Cardiopulmonary conditions which include cystic fibrosis, post-myocardial infarction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Therapy can also be used for the hands with such conditions as trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Musculoskeletal dysfunction such as temporomandibular joint disorders, back pain and rotator cuff tears.
Neurological conditions which include traumatic brain injuries, vestibular dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
Paediatric conditions including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and developmental delays.
A variety of sports related injuries including tennis elbow and concussions.
Pelvic floor dysfunction and women’s health such as lymphedema and urinary incontinence.
Other reasons for a physical therapist can include diabetic ulcers, burns and wound care.
The Many Benefits of Physical Therapy
- The need to avoid costly and potentially dangerous surgery
- Overall improvement of movement and mobility
- Recovering from trauma or injury
- Recovery from paralysis or stroke
- Improvement in balance
- Managed care of age-related medical conditions
Sports-related physical therapists help athletes maximise their efforts and performance by helping them to train and strengthen specific muscles and parts of their bodies in unique ways.
Types of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy helps individuals regain strength ot movement after an illness or injury.
As with many other medical treatments, there are a wide variety of therapies which can be used for different conditions.
Orthopedic physical therapy is used in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries which include injuries to bones, fascias, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This form of therapy is suitable for various medical conditions including sprains, fractures, bursitis, tendonitis and a host of other medical conditions including the recovery from orthopedic surgery. Patients may receive treatment in the form of manual therapy, mobility training, joint mobilisation and other modalities.
Geriatric physical therapy is used for individuals who have developed conditions in which their physical functions and mobility were affected and can include osteoporosis, balance disorders, hip and joint replacement, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. This form of intervention is used in an effort to reduce pain, restore mobility and increase the overall physical fitness levels.
Neurological physical therapy is used to help individuals with neurological disorders as well as conditions including brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment is used in an effort to help treat paralysis, improve limb responsiveness and increase muscle strength by the reduction of muscle atrophy.
Pulmonary and cardiovascular rehabilitation tend to help individuals who have been affected by cardiopulmonary surgical procedures and conditions. Treatment is designed to help increase stamina and physical endurance.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation is used in the treatment of faecal or urinary incontinence. pelvic pain and urinary urgency.
Aside from physical manipulation, physical therapy treatments may include:
– The use of ultrasound which helps to promote the flow of blood as well as healing through the use of heating muscles, tissues and tendons.
Phonophoresis which includes the use of ultrasound to assist in the delivery of medication such as topical steroids. This will help to decrease the level of inflammation.
E-stim which will use a topical electrode on the skin to help alleviate pain and increase abilities. One form of an E-stim is that of the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications may be used in conjunction with the E-stim and will be referred to as iontophoresis.