A Physical Therapist is a healthcare professional that assists patients suffering from musculoskeletal, neurological, or orthopedic disorders by addressing muscle and tissue restrictions to restore normal function. Physical therapy is also known as orthopedic physical therapy, sports physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Physical therapists may also refer their clients to other specialist doctors for specialized treatment. Physical therapists have a variety of modalities at their disposal to help patients resume normal activity following traumatic injuries, surgery, burns, or birth defects.
Physical therapists use a variety of methods to encourage physical function: resistance training, stretching exercises, ultrasound, manual stimulation, electrical muscle stimulation, muscle analysis, balance and coordination exercises, and hot packs and cold compresses. Physical therapy professionals may work in hospital, office, clinic, or home. The most common mode of delivery for physical therapy is physical therapy clinics, which often provide state of the art facilities and highly trained physical therapists. Most physical therapy clinics offer a one-on-one consultation with patients seeking assistance with pain management and restoration of physical function following an accident or medical condition.
How should I start my research? When you begin your research, make it a point to ask questions. Find out how much experience a physical therapist has. Learn about the types of techniques used for treating different conditions. Find out about reimbursement methods and payment plans from your prospective health care provider.
During your initial consultation, ask questions about the professional’s experience in treating your specific medical conditions. Be prepared to share personal health care professionals information such as names, address, phone numbers, insurance, and office hours. Your health care professional’s goal is to develop an individualized treatment plan for you that takes into consideration your overall health, goals, current medications, and level of comfort. After your first visit, you will be able to discuss what solutions you can use to reduce pain, improve functioning, and restore your independence. Let your physical therapist to help you define your goals and develop a realistic action plan for achieving those goals.
During your first visit, take notes so that you will remember key points about your physical therapy treatment. If you have any concerns, these should be brought up at this time. Your physical therapist will be able to refer you to appropriate clinical resources, including a doctor or nurse practitioner, to help you with your medical problems. Make sure you keep all appointments and contact details for your medical care providers listed in your treatment plan.
Following your first appointment, the goal of your physical therapy is to reduce pain, increase range of motion, restore muscle function, and improve muscle tone. Once you have reached your treatment goals, you will be encouraged to progress to a clinic setting. At your next clinic visit, your physical therapist will evaluate your progress and will recommend follow-up treatments to help you continue to improve. Physical therapy can provide a valuable resource for people who experience injuries, have disabilities or age-related issues. By working closely with your medical professional and safely following your treatment plan, you can achieve a healthier, more pain-free life.