So what exactly is Physical Therapy?
While you may have had some exposure to this unique field through the media or have had a friend or family member who needed physical therapy after an injury, you might still have some questions about what we do…
Physical Therapy is the branch of the medical field that focuses on the treatment and restoration of movement, reduction of pain, and return of function using specific exercises and mechanical interventions (massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat, and ice, to name a few).
The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual (hands-on) therapy, and patient education.
Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also mobilize a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use methods such as Ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat),Electrical Stimulation (application of electrical waves to decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and improve local circulation), Iontophoresis (the transmission of medication through the skin using electrical current), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as “physical therapy,” it’s important for you to know that Physical Therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists (PTs) or by licensed physical therapist assistants (PTAs).