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Physical therapists are scientifically trained methodologists who use top-of-the-line equipment and anatomical know-how to help their patients. Therapists work with people of all ages and some can specialize in areas such as geriatrics or athletic performance. Whether it is bone breaks, slipped discs, or strained muscles, trained physical therapists like boshphysicaltherapy.com know how to assess injuries and develop a plan for healing through movement and resistance. The first step of any injury is to seek proper medical attention from reputable providers such as Bosh.
The first step for a physical therapist is to determine what the injury is and how it came to be. It can sometimes seem obvious to a general practitioner how an injury occurred (i.e. someone fell down), but a physical therapist will always take it one step further to see why they fell down. Determining the root cause of an injury is important because avoiding re-injury is critical. Therapists can then work with a person on things like proper gait and balance or ensuring there aren’t obstacles in the home to make sure falls don’t reoccur.
Some of the primary reasons clients come to physical therapists are back pain, knee pain, and injuries from overdoing it like carpal tunnel. Once an injury has been assessed, the therapist designs a plan for treatment. The two main types of treatments consist of passive modalities and manual therapy.
Passive modalities include things such as electrical units (TENS units), ice, heat, and laser therapy, while manual therapy includes stretching, exercises, and massage. Not all manual therapy involves hand work as there are machines that provide massages to each area of the body. Depending on the injury, most people can expect to be in physical therapy for anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 weeks when patients are active in their own care. This includes doing exercises and treatments at-home on their own time as well.
Manual therapy is considered the number one best therapy available for all kinds of injuries. Much of your time in physical therapy will be spent on realigning the body to proper movement with stretching, exercises, and massage. Manual therapy is considered the foundation of physical therapy.
The next best physical therapy treatment is for injuries that need to be calmed from inflammation. Whether it is a swollen ankle or a sprained arm, ice is a common treatment for relieving pain. Ice works by tightening the blood vessels and helping joints to move better.
On the other side of this modality is heat which is used for spasmodic muscles and stiffness. Heat either as a compress or an electric pad works to increase pain and allow for free range of motion of muscles. After heat has been applied, the therapist can massage the loose muscle fibers to make them more flexible.
Another type of heat treatment is ultrasound treatment. Ultrasound treatment sends sound waves to connective tissues in the body to help loosened muscles for manual therapy and improved movement.
The final best physical therapy treatment and one you can do on your own after proper instruction is exercise. While some of the exercises may seem silly or unnecessary, know that each movement has been specifically selected to target muscles for strengthening. Even after an injury is healed it is important to continue to do exercises to prevent re-injuries or flare-ups from occurring.