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Whether it is for a sprained ankle, Parkinson’s disease or back pain, physical therapy can treat a wide variety of injuries and afflictions. Physical Therapists can provide comprehensive services for a wide range of injuries and illnesses.
The American Physical Therapy Association (A.P.T.A.) defines physical therapists (PTs) as “movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care and patient education.” After examining each patient’s individual symptoms and needs, PTs develop a care plan to develop and maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.
Not just anyone can be a PT. PTs have extensive education and obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from an accredited school. They must pass a standardized test to get their license and be able to practice. Many also hold specialty certifications in many areas of practice.
Here are four examples of different types of physical therapy, and how it can be used to treat various conditions.
Geriatric physical therapy
With geriatric physical therapy, the aim is to increase physical fitness and mobility in patients and reduce pain. PTs use stretches, cardio and light weightlifting to help achieve these goals.
Treatment is often started as a reactive measure to an injury but can also be initiated as a preventive measure for patients as they get older. As the body ages, joints and muscles become more susceptible to injury in addition to the normal wear and tear that the body experiences over the years. Geriatric PT often focuses on safe mobility in efforts to decrease the risk for fall and promote independence in the older adult.
Pediatric physical therapy
Children’s bodies are constantly growing and changing. During this time, there are ample opportunities for muscles and tendons to run into trouble or developmental issues. A physical therapist can help a child increase their range of motion or strengthen underdeveloped muscles. Pediatric PT can also include recovery from sports related injuries with goals to return to sports and prior level of activity.
Neurological physical therapy
Tasked with controlling how your body moves, the nervous system can be particularly delicate. Many problems occurring within the nervous system affect how a person functions in day to day life and can be improved substantially with physical therapy. PTs can prescribe daily exercises for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or for patients recovering from a stroke to help manage symptoms and promote functional independence.
Orthopedic physical therapy
A bone break or tendon tear can weaken the muscles surrounding the injured area. In order to help regain mobility and strength within the injured area, a physical therapist can work with patients to help rebuild strength and range of motion while promoting proper healing and assisting with pain management. PT’s assist in the rehab of patients following total joint replacements and many other orthopedic surgeries.
In many areas of Physical therapy PT’s restore, maintain and promote optimal physical function and wellness. Treatments may include therapeutic exercise, non-pharmacological pain management, balance training , gait training, manual therapy, edema management and life style modifications.
To find out if you might benefit from physical therapy at Inspira Health, call 1-800-INSPIRA or visit us at www.InspiraHealthNetwork.org/rehab