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 helps people with injuries and illnesses improve their movement and manage pain. He or she often work as part of a rehabilitation team to provide hands-on therapy, exercises, education and stretching maneuvers to facilitate health and wellness.

A physical therapist is a health care professional who has received education and training in areas such as kinesiology, anatomy, biology and physical fitness. Most physical therapists receive extensive training in patient psychology to best understand the emotional challenges a patient maybe dealing with as a result of their physical limitations.

  • Identify functional limitations and diagnose the condition of each patient.
  • Develop a personalized treatment plan to restore maximum movement and prevent further disability.
  • Provide encouragement to help patients achieve their optimal quality of life, not only from a physical perspective, but also with every patient's confidence and well-being in mind.
  • 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: 

  • Abnormal gait (toe walking, toes turned in/ out, uneven walking pattern)
  • Balance and vestibular therapy for pain and chronic pain, weakness and geriatrics
  • Balance problems (unable to balance on one foot, walking a balance beam, frequent falling)
  • Chromosomal abnormalities (including Down Syndrome)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Coordination dysfunction/ motor planning difficulties (clumsy, running into things, difficulty riding a bike, skipping)
  • Developmental delays (delayed rolling, sitting, crawling, walking)
  • Intellectual disability
  • Neurological therapy for muscular dystrophy and other neurological disorders - including strokes
  • Orthopedic therapy for bone and joint injuries (sprains, strains, and fractures), disabilities and post-surgery
  • Pain
  • Seizure disorders
  • Torticollis (abnormal condition where the head leans to one side due to tight neck muscles)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • TMJ for jaw joint problems
Common Treatment Options

Depending on your location, treatment options may include:

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Astronaut training programs
  • Balance training
  • Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) (constraint-Induced movement therapy encourages the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side)
  • Coordination exercises and activities
  • Gait training
  • Hippotherapy (therapy with/ on a horse)
  • Interactive metronome program
  • Integrated listening systems
  • Joint mobilization
  • 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)
  • Serial casting (a noninvasive procedure that helps children improve their range of motion so they can perform daily activities with less difficulty)
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (E-Stim, NMES)
  • Splinting
  • Strengthening, stretching, and endurance activities
  • TheraTogs and SPIO suit fittings (TheraTogs are an orthotic garment and strapping system used to provide deep pressure, bracing, splinting, and joint alignment)

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.