What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a medical specialty that deals with the improvement of body movement and function as well as pain management through various techniques. It is usually administered by a physical therapist or PT who is a well-trained, skilled health care professional. Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process and helps improve the quality of life for those with chronic conditions or injuries.
The two different forms of physical therapy include:
- Active physical therapy which involves specific physical exercises that you will perform on your own under the guidance of your therapist.
- Passive physical therapy which is administered by the therapist.
The different modalities of passive physical therapy include hot or cold packs, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, spinal manipulation, diathermy, massage, and aqua therapy. These treatment options may be indicated depending on the type and severity of pain.
The physical therapist will tailor a specific program per your necessities and goals.
What to expect at your first Physical Therapy appointment?
Your first visit will be an initial evaluation. Your therapist will ask history about the present problem followed by a physical examination. You may be asked to walk around or asked to sit or stand to measure the movements (range of motion) and strength. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and what factors worsen or diminish your pain levels as this helps the therapist to determine the nature of your problem and to determine your special care and focus.
Initial evaluation also includes postural assessment which helps to determine a specific treatment plan for the patient. Make sure to ask questions of your therapist if you are unsure of any of the instructions for your particular treatment plan.