Physical therapy is a term many people have heard, but do you really know what it is? Do you know what the benefits are?
Physical therapists are specialized experts in many fields of medicine. Some physical therapists specialize in spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions, some work with children, some work with the elderly, still others work with patient in hospitals or with mental disabilities.
Many people are referred to physical therapy by their doctors for a variety of reasons. Some may see traditional out-patient or orthopedic physical therapists that specialize in understanding and helping people recover from mechanical pain and injury. They are experts in educating patients, decreasing pain, and improving mobility and motion. Pain-free movement and function are crucial to your quality of daily life.
Interestingly, recent research suggests that treatment by a physical therapist is often an equally effective, and cheaper alternative to surgery and prescription drugs for a variety of conditions ranging from back and neck pain and degenerative disc disease to meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis.
Anyone in the United States can arrange a screening by a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. It also should be known that a patient with a physician referral can choose to go to whatever physical therapy clinic they wish. Most people will choose a clinic or physical therapist that is convenient to their work or home. Through individualized treatment plans designed by physical therapists, patients can sometimes achieve the same results without the expense and side effects of surgery and prescription medication.
An important aspect to keep in mind about physical therapy is that it is individualized to meet each person’s individual needs. Physical therapist’s are able to spend more time with their patients. Each person may respond differently to therapy. People have different types of bodies, different patterns of movement, different alignments, and different habits. Physical therapists will monitor each individual and develop a program to decrease pain, improve ROM and strength, correct improper habits and postures, improve movement patterns, and educate.
Physical therapy is a practical and highly successful conservative option for patients with a wide variety of pain, disability, loss of balance, stroke, weakness, and musculoskeletal conditions.