Physical Therapy

Walking walking in Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy (PT) is the practice of rehabilitation of functional mobility after an illness, injury or disease. Treatments may include gait, balance and transfer training, exercise programs, manual therapy, and possibly the use of physical modalities – such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound/phonophoresis, iontophoresis or thermotherapies. Physical therapy also offers specialty programs for treatment of lymphedema, vestibular (dizziness) issues and dry needling.

Physical therapists provide treatment of joint, spine and neurological problems. Patients are seen after surgery or injury, and treatments may include flexibility training, muscle strengthening, posture and body mechanics.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

A physical therapist is a health care professional working to restore function and reducing pain in individuals who have experienced injury, illness, or disability. He or she often works as part of a team of medical professionals to provide hands on therapy and guided exercises restoring movement patterns and maximizing function. Your rehab program will include education regarding your plan of care insuring you understand the healing process and to help prevent future injuries. A physical therapist is a licensed medical professional with an advanced degree from an accredited academic program. In addition, many physical therapists pursue advanced certifications in specialty areas such as manual therapy, sports medicine, orthopedics or neurology.

  • Identify functional limitations and diagnose the condition of each patient.
  • Identify underlying movement dysfunction creating functional limitations of each patient
  • Develop a personalized treatment plan to restore maximum movement and prevent further disability.
  • Individualize treatment plans address unique needs and goals of each patient, maximizing movement, minimizing impairments and preventing future injury.
  • Utilize a holistic approach to not only recover from injury, but also improve their overall health and well being.
  • Coordinate care with other therapists, such as occupational and speech, to help you reach your goals.
Commonly Treated Conditions

Depending on your location, conditions treated may include: 

  • Balance problems and unstable walking
  • Common muscle, bone and joint injuries such as back, neck, knee or shoulder pain
  • Concussion
  • Neurological therapy for muscular dystrophy and other neurological disorders - including strokes
  • Orthopedic therapy for bone and joint injuries disabilities and post-surgery
  • Pain
  • Sports related injuries and rehabilitation (sprains, strains, and fractures)
  • Strengthening, stretching, and endurance activities
  • TMJ for jaw joint problems
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vertigo and other vestibular and balance related problems
Common Treatment Options

Depending on your location, treatment options may include:

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Balance training
  • Coordination exercises and activities
  • Gait training
  • Joint mobilization
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (E-Stim, NMES)
  • Orthotics/ prosthetics/ mobility specialist consultations
  • Partial Weight Bearing Balance and Gait Training (using a gait training device that controls weight bearing, posture, and balance over a treadmill or the ground)
  • Splinting

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

What to Wear
We recommend that you wear shorts or loose pants that you can roll up, a tank top (depending on your injury location) and comfortable shoes. You will be moving around and your therapist will need to see and assess the injured area.
Q & A
You and your therapist will sit down and discuss your current conditions together. This will include questions regarding your diagnosis such as what happened and when, what increases/ decreases your symptoms and what goals you have.
Test and Measures
Your therapist will gather various measurements. Specifically your therapist will look at your motion, flexibility, strength and perform special tests indicated for your diagnosis. These results will help your therapist assess your condition and determine your treatment plan.
Education and Scheduling
After collect information, your therapist will discuss their findings and help you understand "why" something is happening. The treatment plan moving forward, goals and what to expect from your therapy sessions will be discussed. Based on the treatment plan the therapist will help determine a schedule frequency that works with and for you.
Home Exercises
Your therapist will likely give you a few exercises on day one. This is important to jump start the treatment plan. Your compliance and participation with these at home exercises will help you reach your therapy goals.