Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, with illnesses, or injuries that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they would like in their daily lives. By examining individuals and developing a plan using treatment techniques they are able to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Therapy can also help individuals prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
When to see a physical therapist:
- Specific, known issues, e.g. lower back pain due to spinal stenosis
- Non-specific, unknown pain issues; lower back, neck, persistent, or acute pain, etc.
- After-trauma injuries; ankle twist, shoulder luxation, knee injuries like ACL tear, etc.
- After-operation rehabilitation; knee, hip, spine, hand-related, etc.
- Other movement-related issues; Scoliosis, Scheuermann’s disease, etc
*A medical referral is needed before seeing a physical therapist
What to expect during a physical therapy session
The first session starts with an observation of the patient’s posture and whole body to find sources of malalignment. Physical evaluation and tests for:
- Range of motion
- Joint mobility
- Neurological dynamics test
- Other questions regarding current health to assess the body’s ability to handle PT interventions
Based on the findings your therapist will set a short-, and long-term therapy plan custom-designed to meet your goals. The treatment plan may consist of one or both approaches:
- ‘hands-on’, meaning touching of the affected area; physical agents such as heat, ice, ultrasound, or soft laser may be used.
- ‘hands-off’, e.g. specific exercises designed to improve the affected area.
Exercises and postural realignment advice will be demonstrated and taught, as well as new approaches, methods, and skills. When needed, follow-up sessions may include exercise therapy, manual therapy, electro-therapy, or a blend of these techniques. It is always personalized and unique.
If you have an injury or illness that results in pain, physical impairment, or limited normal movement/loss of function, a physical therapist can help. If you have impaired mobility, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted to offer treatment and a strategy to improve function.
FirstMed Physical Therapists keep their skills and knowledge fresh by regularly attending professional courses and as well as national and international congresses.