Physical therapy is part of the rehabilitation programs that help patients improve their fitness levels and restore the functional ability for performing normal routine activities. It is often recommended in recovery after a surgery. Physical therapy includes different forms of exercises such as stretching, weight lifting, core exercises and walking that increase the flexibility and strength of the affected region and also help in relieving pain and swelling.
Physical therapy specialists, also referred to as physical therapists, examine the patient and prepare individualized treatment plans, based on the health condition of the patient. A physical therapist is trained in different specialties such as orthopedics, neurology, cardiology, respiratory medicine, sports medicine, women’s health and geriatrics. A physical therapist may employ manual therapy, patient education, and additional techniques such as cold therapy, heat therapy, therapeutic exercises, massage, aquatic therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
Physical therapists may recommend additional devices such as prosthetics (artificial limbs), braces or supports, and other equipment to enhance your performance of daily activities. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy along with other conventional treatments to manage the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Spinal stenosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Soft tissue disorders such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, meniscus tear, and plantar fasciitis