what is physical therapy

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a health care specialty involved with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to restore maximal functional independence to each individual patient. To achieve this goal, physical therapists may utilize a variety of modalities such as moist heat, cold, electrical stimulation (E-stim), ultrasound, traction, light/laser treatment as well as other available treatments to help restore your function.  They will also employ a variety of hands on techniques such as massage, mobilization, myofascial techniques, stretching, and specific exercises to address weakness and imbalance.

Services are provided by physical therapists, which are licensed health care professionals with a Master’s or Doctorate degree in physical therapy. Physical therapists evaluate, diagnose, and manage the physical therapy treatment plan, customizing it to each individual’s needs.

Common Questions:

Q: How should I dress for my appointment?
A: When you attend your therapy appointments, you will want to wear clothing that is easy to move around in and allows for examination such as shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes.

Q: Will it hurt?
A: Your therapist will listen to you very closely and make every effort to keep discomfort to a minimum. However, you may experience some soreness as you progress through your treatment plan. Remember it is your responsibility to let your therapist know how you are feeling.

Q: What are the benefits of physical therapy?
A: Besides helping you feel better and resolving your injury/condition, you will learn valuable information about how you can prevent re-injury or future injury as you work with your therapist to reach the goals set for therapy.

Q: When should I start therapy?
A: Your physician can order physical therapy at any time for a wide variety of injuries or conditions. If you feel you could benefit from understanding your specific injury/condition more thoroughly and are motivated to feel better and stronger, talk with your physician and request a prescription to a qualified physical therapist office.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will begin to feel better.