How does Physical Therapy Near Me Work?
There seem to be a lot of misconceptions out there about physical therapy (PT). Some people think it is only for elite athletes. Others have the idea it is only used for patients in rehabilitation from an orthopedic surgery. In reality, physical therapy professionals operate in a few different modalities that can be beneficial for patients with many kinds of diagnoses. It additionally benefits a range of patients across different age ranges, from very young children to elders who are well past retirement.
So, how does the physical therapy clinic benefit all of these diverse patients?
This is a great question.
- The first thing most people think of when looking for physical therapy near me is exercise. It is true that exercise is the basis for many PT treatment plans. There are two basic categories of exercise that are prescribed, strengthening and stretching. Building strength in targeted muscle groups takes the pressure off of skeletal structures like the spine. Stretching can create space for nerve structures that were being constricted. There are specific exercises for each purpose, and for targeting different parts of the body – but they will do the most good when performed under proper supervision.
- Massage, along with passive stretching, is an essential component of PT. Patients benefit from massage in a number of ways. It is another way to stretch specific parts of the body, relieving tension and nerve constriction. It also has holistic benefits for the patient, offering an (often pleasant) way to relax and even improve conditions such as depression that initially seem to be unrelated to the physical body.
- Hot and cold therapies are an essential part of some PT treatment plans. The application of heat or cold to a painful area is vastly underrated as a mechanism for pain relief. Often, it is as effective as a prescription pain medication without the side effects or risk of addiction. There are various devices available to apply heat and cold to specific parts of the body in a targeted manner.
- Water therapy can be used in conjunction with heat and cold therapy, or on its own as a way to facilitate exercise for folks who are very compromised in their ability to move around and exert themselves. Just being in the water is therapeutic for some as it decreases the impact of gravity and lets them move freely, perhaps for the first time in months or years. Children are especially fond of therapeutic activities undertaken in a water environment and often see these as just an extension of playtime.
- Recovering from a surgery, accident, or other injury can be challenging. This is especially true of individuals who have lost a limb or other body part. In these cases, the physical therapist can help the patient become accustomed to using a prosthesis or adaptive device in order to achieve a level of functioning that is comparable to their “normal”. Often, the PT clinician will partner with an occupational therapy professional in a physical therapy clinic in these cases. The combination of these two types of therapies allows patients to regain strength and flexibility while adapting to “new” ways of doing the common activities of daily living.