Physical therapy is a group of services provided by a health care professional.
It helps preserve, develop, and restore physical function. It can help restore
physical health that has been lost to injury, disease, or other causes. The
goals are to relieve pain and promote fitness and health.
What is the information for this topic?
Who provides physical therapy?
Physical therapy services are provided by a physical therapist. A physical
therapist is specially trained and educated at a college and must be licensed in the state in which he or she practices.
A physical therapist may specialize in certain kinds of problems. Physical
therapists may work with very ill people, or with top athletes. They may work
with babies or with older people.
Physical therapists work in hospitals,
rehabilitation clinics, medical offices, nursing homes, and athletic
facilities. They may travel to the home or workplace of a patient.
What kinds of patients and problems does physical therapy treat?
Physical therapy deals problems in the muscles, joints, brain, nerves, heart,
lungs, and the skin surface. The
problems may be due to injuries, diseases, or conditions. Physical therapy
deals with all stages of recovery. It can be used for one brief visit to
prevent a problem. It can also be used for years to treat a long-term problem.
People with muscle and joint problems often have a lot of pain. Their muscles
have often become weak and tight. These people can have a decrease in their
energy level. Often their posture and joints are not aligned correctly. All of
this contributes to a loss in performing daily work, recreation, and home
People with brain and nerve problems struggle with feeling and controlling the
body. These are the primary roles of the brain and nerves. These people may
also have muscle and joint problems. That's because the brain and nerves
control the muscles and joints. These people may also have trouble controlling
muscles that overcontract or resist contracting.
People with head injuries or problems may have
difficulty with speaking, understanding, remembering, learning, and other
thinking skills. They may have trouble knowing where their body parts are,
knowing when they are moving, controlling movement, or keeping muscles and
joints from freezing into one position. They may have severe weakness or
People with heart disease and
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
problems with endurance and general strength. They often have trouble getting
enough air to breathe. That's because the heart and lungs, which get oxygen to
the body, are not working properly.
Skin surface problems may be due to wounds or burns. These people often have a lot of pain because the skin has many
nerve endings. They may also have trouble with their muscles and joints.
What are the goals of physical therapy?
The main goal of physical therapy is to restore physical function. This can involve treating pain, range of
motion, strength, posture, balance, endurance, control, and sensation. Specific goals must be set for each person. These goals depend on the kind of problem.
Some typical goals might be to improve range of motion of a joint, to increase strength in a muscle, or to increase
What are the treatments given in physical therapy?
Pain problems may be treated by machines or methods that help heal the injured
tissue. Providing protection, improving circulation, or restoring function
often decreases the pain.
Stretching exercises to increase flexibility may treat range of motion
problems. Strengthening exercises may help with range of motion. This may be
useful with joints that are overly strained or torn.
Strength and endurance problems are treated with various forms of resistance
training. The amount of weight and the length of exercise time used are
Balance and control problems may be treated by special exercises and training.
Sensation problems are treated by stimulating nerves. This promotes increased
feeling or control. Sometimes, a person has too much feeling in the skin
nerves, which causes discomfort. Special treatments can help decrease the nerve sensation.
Does insurance cover physical therapy?
Most insurance companies will cover physical therapy. It can be given in a
hospital, a rehabilitation facility, an office, or at home. Insurance policies may have limits on where physical therapy will be covered. There are often limitations on how much physical therapy will be covered.
What is a good way to locate the best physical therapy?
Physical therapy treats many different problems. It is important to have a
physical therapist who is experienced in the right problem. For example, a
physical therapist who treats people with back injuries may not be the best
choice to treat a person with a brain injury. A doctor or rehabilitation nurse
can offer recommendations. It is acceptable to call a physical therapist or
physical therapy department to ask about experience and training.