Physical therapy offers a broad range of uses, from recovering from an illness or sports injury to coping with chronic pain. A physical therapist offers a wide array of physical and occupational treatments to manage pain and promote healing. Before you begin working with one of these health professionals, it is helpful to understand some of the terms they will be using in their work.
Active Range of Motion - The motion caused by a muscle contraction, which is often a focus of physical therapy treatments to reduce pain and improve flexibility.
Electrical Stimulation - The use of an electrical current to contract muscles for the purpose of strengthening muscles and increasing blood supply to promote healing.
Physiotherapy - Therapy that uses a variety of physical methodologies like massage and exercise.
Passive Motion - Motion that is the result of forces other than a muscle contraction.
Active Motion - Any motion that is caused by a muscle contraction.
Sports Rehabilitation - Physical therapy used by a technician to treat the pain and injuries incurred from sports activities.
Aquatic Therapy - Exercises performed in a pool to reduce the impact of the activity and provide relief from pain as well as improved strength, flexibility and conditioning.
Manual Therapy - Methods where a physical therapist or technician uses hands rather than machines, such as massage and osteopathic manipulation.
Occupational Therapy - Therapy methods that help patients perform daily tasks like cooking and personal care. Often used in tandem with other types of physical therapy treatment.
Respiratory Physical Therapy - Therapy specifically designed to improve respiratory function and increase activity levels overall.
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If you ever suffer from an injury, chances are you will visit a physical therapist. A physical therapist is a healthcare professional that helps you recover movement and strength.
For example, many sports players suffer from chronic pain in the muscles they use to play. They need help to manage the pain and balance recovery with playing their sports. If someone suffers a respiratory injury or disorder, they might need help recovering respiratory strength.
A physical therapist can provide relief through therapy. They will target your neck, back, shoulders or hips. They might work on your knees or your arms. They will choose the program that works for you based on your needs.
You might need aquatic therapy, in which you work toward pain relief in the water. During electrical therapy, the technician uses electricity to provide stimulation. In orthopedic therapy, the technician focuses on the muscular and skeletal systems to help you recover. Or for chronic pain, they might choose myofascial release.
Physical therapy, often called physiotherapy, is usually performed at a clinic. You visit the medical clinic for a simple outpatient session. For more serious injuries, you might start these programs while you are still in the hospital, under the supervision of your doctor.
After physical therapy, you may still need occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can help you learn to manage your daily tasks without causing extra pain or stress.
If you need a physical or occupational therapist, you should talk to doctor and get a good reference for a reliable, reputable clinic.