Physiotherapy is a medical specialty that includes the assessment, evaluation and treatment of people with functional mobility problems. Choosing physical therapy has been proven to help you recover quickly and safely, and also save money by reducing overall health care costs.
Physical therapy services are provided by physical therapists who are professionals licensed by the state in which they work. Physical therapists (or PTs as they are commonly called) must have a master's degree or clinical doctorate from an accredited institution and must pass a license to practice the exam.
Physiotherapists who are already practicing and only have a master's degree can still practice, but all students new to this profession must now earn a doctorate .
Physical therapists are trained to assess your condition and help you regain maximum functional mobility and independence. They use a variety of therapies and treatments to help you move and feel better; the treatment is very individual .
Do you need physiotherapy?
How do you know if you need the services of a qualified physical therapist? If you have an injury or illness that causes pain, physical impairment, or limited normal movement / loss of function, a physical therapist can help you. Physical therapists treat people throughout their lives. Many therapists specialize in treating specific populations, such as children, the elderly, or athletes. Regardless of age, if you have mobility problems, a physical therapy exam may be required to suggest treatment and strategies to improve function.
Some common problems that physical therapists evaluate and treat include:
However, keep in mind that physical therapists can treat many other problems in addition to those listed. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think this treatment might help you. When an injury or illness occurs that limits your ability to move normally or safely, you may be referred to a physical therapist. Physical therapists work closely with patients, healthcare providers, and family members to ensure a safe and rapid return to maximum functionality.
Physical therapists can also help you prevent injury or loss of functional mobility.
Your physical therapist can analyze your movements before you injure yourself and suggest strategies to help you stay healthy and move well. Some physical therapists work with athletes to help them stay on the field of play and out of the rehab clinic, for example.
Where to do physical therapy
Physical therapists work in a wide variety of settings. As long as you can meet someone who may have problems with normal mobility, you can find a physical therapist, including:
- At the hospital
- In nursing homes
- In polyclinics
- With sports teams
- In schools (many state laws require that children receive services in a setting that is more familiar to them and / or that allows them to keep up with their peers)
- At home (if you cannot leave due to illness or injury)
- In cardiac rehabilitation centers
Preparing for physical therapy
As you prepare for physical therapy, there are several things you can do to create a positive experience . Before choosing a physical therapist, ask questions. Some PTs are clinical specialists; can help you find someone who specializes in treating your specific problem. You should ask about coverage, cancellation or no-show policies, and what to wear for your doctor's appointment.
Your physical therapist should work with you to set specific goals, so be prepared to tell the physical therapist exactly what you hope to accomplish during therapy. If you don't understand what kind of treatment is done during PC sessions, ask.
Your relationship with a physical therapist should feel like a therapeutic alliance when the two of you work together to achieve specific goals.
When you first visit a physical therapist, he or she will assess your general condition. You may take certain steps to collect information about your illness or injury. Impairments typically assessed may include:
- Range of motion
- Joint mobility
- Neurological function
- Cardiac function
- Pulmonary function
- General functional mobility
After gathering information about your injury or illness, your doctor will predict your condition and can suggest strategies to help you move and feel better. He or she will discuss your physical therapy goals and work with you to develop a treatment plan for your rehab center.
What to expect during treatment
Physical therapists use many different methods to help you reduce pain and stiffness, improve movement and strength , and improve mobility. Physical agents such as heat , ice, ultrasound , or electrical stimulation can be used. Manual techniques are often used to improve mobility.
Physical therapists often use exercise therapy to help people expand their range of motion , increase strength, and improve function. Informing patients about the condition or disease is of the utmost importance in physical therapy practice, and therapists can use charts, models, and charts to help you understand their diagnosis and prognosis.
You may also be offered modifications or exercises to do at home.
Get the word of drug information
It's natural to feel a little anxious the first time you go to physical therapy. What will happen? Will the therapy hurt? These feelings usually go away quickly when you meet with your physical therapist and begin working on your rehabilitation goals. By understanding that your physical therapist can help you, you can have realistic expectations for your rehabilitation and a positive outcome from your experience with physical therapy.