Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy involves treating the physical aspects of medical conditions and injuries through the use of specialized exercise programs, assistive devices, massage, electrical stimulation, ultrasonography, hot and cold compresses, and more.

The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to improve one’s ability to function at work and at home. While individualized for each patient, physical therapy works to restore physical ability, mobility, flexibility, balance, coordination, endurance, reduce pain, improve cognitive and sensory integration, and more.

Physical Therapy Practitioners

Physical therapists often work with a team of health professionals to rehabilitate patients after illness, disease, or physical injury.  General physicians, neurologists, orthopedic doctors, other medical specialists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, sports medicine professionals, speech and language therapists, and other professionals may all be involved in a patient’s recovery and rehabilitation.

Physical therapy practitioners may treat a wide range of ailments, though they often specialize in one type of physical therapy. There are five general types of physical therapy: orthopedic, pediatric, geriatric, neurological, and cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy. 

Types of Physical Therapy

Orthopedic physical therapy involves treating individuals with illness or injuries that affect the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons of the body. Orthopedic physical therapists are specially trained to treat post-operative joints, arthritis, acute sports injuries, amputations, and more. This type of physical therapy is commonly performed in an outpatient clinical setting.

Geriatric physical therapy covers medical and injury concerns in patients throughout the aging process and particularly in older adults. Arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, incontinence, balance disorders, and other conditions are more common in older aged individuals. These conditions are the focus of geriatric physical therapy. 

Pediatric physical therapy involves the early detection of children's health problems and the treatment of disorders that affect the pediatric population. Pediatric physical therapists are specially trained to diagnose, treat, and manage a variety of congenital, developmental, skeletal, neuromotor, and acquired conditions that affect individuals from infancy through adolescence. This type of physical therapy often focuses on motor skill improvements, balance, strength, endurance, coordination, and cognitive and sensory processes. Patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, developmental delays, and a myriad of other conditions often benefit from pediatric physical therapy.

Neurological physical therapy focuses on the physical abilities and health of individuals who have a neurological condition such as Alzheimer’s, brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, spinal cord injury, ALS, and more. People who suffer one of these problems may have paralysis, poor balance, vision impairment, inability to walk or some degree of functional loss. 

Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy centers on rehabilitation of patients who have had cardiac or pulmonary surgery. Physical endurance and functional independence are often the primary goals of this physical therapy. Patients with cystic fibrosis, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, pulmonary fibrosis, heart attacks, and those who have had coronary bypass surgery might all benefit from physical therapy

It is clear then, based on these brief definitions, the areas of physical therapy overlap in many ways. For example, a person who is born with cerebral palsy may require different physical therapy treatments throughout the course of their life. Physical therapy is adaptable so that a patient receives the therapies most conducive to improving their physical condition and quality of life.

If you would like to learn more about physical therapy after an accident or injury, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area.

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