Physical therapy can be the key to regaining control of your life and getting your confidence back. Whether you’ve had a fall or are suffering from a condition such as arthritis, a trained physical therapist can assess what needs to be done and help you get back to enjoying life again.
But how much do you know about physical therapy? Our 10 facts on physical therapy and what physical therapists do might surprise you!
What Is Physical Therapy? The Physical Therapy Definition
Physical therapy is a treatment aimed at reducing musculoskeletal pain, which is any pain in the muscles, joints, or bones. As well as dealing with pain, physical therapy or PT can help:
- Increase range of movement
- Increase flexibility
- Improve general mobility
- Improve balance to prevent falls
- Increase core strength to improve the internal health
- Help with postpartum recovery
- Increase bladder or bowel control
- Adapt to prosthetics or mobility assistances
What Is a Physical Therapist?
The simple physical therapist definition is someone who takes you through a physical therapy journey to help you gain more mobility or flexibility or reduced pain. This may be through the use of physical therapy exercises, stretches, or other treatments. Your physical therapist might be classed as a DPT, meaning they are a Doctor of Physical Therapy or Physiotherapy, with the physiotherapy definition being much the same as physical therapy.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
A physical therapist will typically assess what your needs are and go from there. They’ll want to know:
- Why you’re seeking physical therapy
- What are your pain levels are and where the pain is focused
- What caused the pain (injury, illness)
- Is the PT preventative (preventing falls or future injury)
Your therapist might want to test your range of movement by moving your limbs or asking you to do so. They may also assess your posture, balance, and strength where appropriate.
From this assessment, they’ll create a plan that works for you, which may include exercise, stretch, massage, or regular use of mobility assistance like a walker or a cane.
10 Things You Should Know About Physical Therapy
So, you think you know everything about physical therapy now, right? Well, these 10 facts may change that opinion! Physical therapists and PT clinics work hard to improve your quality of life. Here’s how:
1. There Are Many Types of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy isn’t just about picking out a few exercises. A dedicated therapist will create a plan that’s unique for you, based on your needs.
2. Physical Rehabilitation Is a Journey
PT isn’t a one-time thing. Your journey will involve work from you, your therapist, and communication between you both to understand how you’re progressing and if anything needs to change.
3. PT Is Not Just for Injuries
Physical therapy can also help with:
- Stroke recovery
- Dealing with paralysis
- Pediatric conditions
- Geriatric conditions
4. Physical Therapy Can Prevent Further Pain or Injury
You don’t always need to wait until you’re in pain to visit a physical therapy clinic. A PT can talk to you about strengthening your core or specific groups of muscles to prevent future injury or pain.
5. Physical Therapy Can Help Manage Long Term Conditions
Many chronic illnesses are associated with pain, muscle weakness, or loss of mobility. Physical therapy can help sufferers manage those aspects of their conditions for a vastly improved quality of life. For someone with a life-threatening illness, such as heart disease or type-2 diabetes, a trained physical therapist can help introduce exercise into a daily routine, teaching clients how to move regularly, gently, and with the most positive impact on their body and wellbeing.
6. Your Physical Therapist Knows More About Your Body Than You Realize
Physical therapists aren’t all about your muscles and joints! They learn a phenomenal amount about biology and anatomy before qualifying so that they can take a wholly holistic approach to your health and wellbeing.
7. Physical Therapy Can Affect Your Mental Health – Positively
Reducing pain and increasing mobility is a natural way to boost your confidence. This may have an emotional impact, positively improving your mental health and happiness with life in general.
8. Physical Therapy Can Help With Long Term Pain Management
Some conditions, such as arthritis, come with unavoidable long-term pain ramifications. Physical therapy can teach you how to manage that pain, including better balance or core strength to protect areas that are more vulnerable to pain.
9. Physical Therapy Clinics Work With a Range of Clients
A high-quality physical therapy clinic will work with athletes, musicians, CEOs, and people from all walks of life. Working with an experienced clinic means that no matter the cause of your pain or loss of mobility, one of the PT experts will have the experience and knowledge to treat you effectively.
10. Getting Physical Therapy Is Easy
Although the journey to full recovery might take time, getting set up with a physical therapist who can help you is simple. Get in touch with USA Sports Therapy today and find out more about how physical therapy could improve your quality of life.
What does a physical therapist do? What is DPT? We explore these common questions and more to understand better how physical therapy benefits you.