Physical therapists are trained professionals that evaluate and develop regimens to treat abnormal-based physical functions that are related to or stem from injuries, condition, disease, and/or disability. These medical professionals are specially trained in diagnosing physical-based abnormalities, restoring physical levels of function and mobility, maintaining the functionality of the body, and promoting proper function through physical activities. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the specifics of the conditions that physical therapists treat.

Physical Therapist Working On Patient

What Orthopedic Conditions Do Physical Therapists Treat?

Physical therapists often treat conditions related to the orthopedic system. This includes the muscles, ligaments, bones, tendons, and joints.

The treatment places a special emphasis on building up strength, improving flexibility, and providing a boost to the body’s range of motion. The following outlines the orthopedic-based conditions that a physical therapist will assist with:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Back Pain
  3. Bursitis
  4. TMJ and Jaw Pain
  5. Carpal Tunnel Issues and Syndrome
  6. Collar & Neck Problems
  7. Tennis Elbow & Other Elbow Issues
  8. Foot & Ankle Complications
  9. Hip Pain
  10. Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery
  11. Neck Pain
  12. Knee Conditions and Diseases
  13. Shoulder Issues and Conditions
  14. Sciatica
  15. Repetitive Strain Injuries and Recovery
  16. Joint Conditions and Diseases

What Neurological Issues Do Physical Therapists Treat?

The nervous system is a highly complex and extremely sophisticated system in the body that aids in the regulation of bodily functions. When an individual suffers from a neurological disease or injury, it could detrimentally impact many of the body’s functions – from eating and speaking to memory, walking, and even breathing.

Physical therapists treat neurological conditions and injuries so that function may be regained, activities may be performed, and independence may be maintained. The following identifies the main neurological issues that physical therapists treat:

  1. ALS
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. Cerebral Palsy
  4. Concussions
  5. Dementia
  6. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  7. Multiple Sclerosis
  8. Stroke
  9. Trigeminal Neuralgia Issues
  10. Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  11. Vertigo

What Type of Autoimmune Issues Do Physical Therapists Treat?

Disorders of the immune system result in either extremely low and abnormal or extremely high and abnormal activity within the immune system.

When overactivity occurs, the body attacks and damages the tissues, therein. If there is not enough activity, an immune deficiency occurs.

This decreases the body’s unique ability to fight off potentially harmful invaders and results in a very high vulnerability to infections.

Physical therapists are able to treat autoimmune diseases so that the sufferer experiences far less severe symptoms; however, they are unable to cure these diseases. Examples of autoimmune diseases that PTs treat include the following:

  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Gullian-Barre Syndrome
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Lupus
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Vasculitis
massage therapy

What Are the Most Common Physical Therapy Treatments?

There are several unique treatments that physical therapists specialize in. The following outlines the most common of these and a brief explanation of each:

  1. Manual Therapy – This physical therapy treatment uses the hands in order to assist patients. Examples include massage, manipulation, mobilization techniques, and simply assisting with exercises that are designed to strengthen.
  2. Electrical Stimulation – This is often identified among physical therapists as “ESTIM”. It utilizes electrical-based stimulation in order to push the muscles to contract. This type of therapy is known to restore function in the body and improve the ability to move. It may be used for paid reduction in many individuals.
  3. Exercise – Physical therapists use a variety of exercises to help in targeting muscles that are weak, muscular-based imbalances, and to treat pain. Exercises are capable of strengthening and aiding in the recovery process.
  4. Laser Therapy – Physical therapists are capable of using low frequency laser systems in order to produce wavelengths of light. This light helps in stimulating healing within the body. Laser therapy is able to help with inflammation, muscle fatigue, pain, and other types of discomfort.
  5. Hot and Cold Therapy – Cold therapy helps in reducing inflammation and swelling. This is because it helps in constricting the blood vessels within the body. Heat helps in treating tightness and muscular-based spasms. This helps to reduce pain and increase overall mobility. Heat increases the pliability of tissues which helps in stretching the muscles, tendons, and the ligaments through other types of treatment sessions.
  6. Traction – This therapy involves a form of decompression that aids in alleviating pressure in the spinal region. This is a very productive form of therapy for people who have compressed disks, sciatica, herniated discs, and pinched nerves.
  7. Ultrasound Therapy – Many physical therapists use ultrasound therapy to treat their patients. This projects very high-pitched sound waves in the body that aid in promoting circulation. Additionally, it generates a deep amount of heat down within the connective tissues. For individuals that have ligament injuries, ultrasound treatments help in speeding up the healing process. Topical medications such as cortisone may also be delivered with ultrasound technology in a process referred to as phonophoresis.

What Does Physical Therapy Treatment Heal?

Physical therapy treatments are considered suitable for individuals that have sprains, fractures, bursitis, tendonitis, and chronic medical problems. It is also considered to be ideal for those that are in rehabilitation or are in recovery from certain types of medical problems or surgery.

Unlike medical treatments that focus on simply treating symptoms, physical therapy treatments address the core issue and try to improve the functionality of the body by using it the way it is intended to be used.

While medical treatments sometimes go with physical therapy treatments, this is not always the case.

Are There Different Types of Physical Therapy?

Yes, there are various types of physical therapy. The most common are as follows:

  • Rehabilitative Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Physical Therapy
  • Hand Therapy
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Pediatric Physical Therapy
  • Neurological Physical Therapy
  • Geriatric Physical Therapy
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Vestibular Physical Therapy
  • Cardiovascular Physical Therapy
  • Pulmonary Physical Therapy

What Are the Main Branches of Physical Therapy?

In short, there are about 8 different branches of physical therapy. There may be more, but in terms of common branches, they are as follows:

  • Brain Disorders
  • Bone Health
  • Congenital Conditions
  • General Physical Medicine
  • Joint Health
  • Nerve Injuries
  • Pain Therapy
  • Sports Injuries

What are the Main Focuses of Physical Therapy Treatments?

The main focus on all physical therapy treatments is to prevent injuries, optimize the performance of the body, and to help patients retain motion and strength through the means of various types of exercises, massages, and various other treatment techniques. In short, physical therapy sessions are designed to get the body back to where it needs to be to move easily and perform everyday activities.

How Long Do Physical Therapy Sessions Last?

Generally speaking, most physical therapy sessions last as little as 30 minutes or as long as 60 minutes. It depends on the condition or injury that is being treated. It also depends on how well the patient is progressing through the program.

Many patients may need a little extra time in their sessions.

In the first session, the patient will undergo an orientation and a therapy plan will be set up. It is during this session that you can ask what to expect with your sessions and how long each of the sessions should last.

How Many Times a Week Should Physical Therapy Be Done?

In the beginning of a physical therapy program, three sessions a week are advised. After a time, this may go down to two sessions.

Eventually, the sessions will occur once a week. In most cases, the amount performed each week will depend on two factors – how well a patient is progressing and the number of sessions permitted by the insurance company.

If you are self-pay for physical therapy, insurance coverage of the sessions is not something you will be concerned with. You will be able to choose how often you attend.

Should Physical Therapists be Tipped?

Many physical therapists accept tips and many do not. In most instances, physical therapists that work in the medical aspect of the profession do not receive tips.

Those that work in massage clinics, spas, and salons are more likely to receive tips. Tipping should not be an area of concern to you, as the patient. If you feel the need to tip, you may do so; however, it is often not accepted or even expected.

Is Physical Therapy Successful?

Yes, physical therapy has a very high success rate. This success is measured in terms of how fast a patient recovers, how strong they are, their general level of mobility, and if their pain levels subside. If you choose to participate in physical therapy, you will experience many benefits. We here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy pride ourselves in bringing out the best in every single patient that we work with. We offer a vast array of services and treatments that are designed to improve your strength, movements, and general well-being. To learn more, contact us today by calling the following number: 303-832-5577

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