What are different physical therapy treatment options available?
Physical therapy is an ever-expanding profession that encompasses that a number of aspects of health ranging from weight management, injury recovery, wound-care or rehabilitative services. Physical therapists are highly trained individuals that have completed doctoral level education, and are often held at a high requirement level for continuing education. When it comes to the different options available for physical therapy treatment, it is likely that there is someone available to treat even the most obscure or troubling ailment.
One of the most powerful types of physical therapy treatment available, as well as one with the most positive growth trend, is the use of manual therapy. This is a treatment form in which the therapist relies almost solely on the use of their hands as their instrument. Individuals with soft tissue, joint, or even strength deficits can benefit from the variety of manual therapy techniques employed by physical therapists. The use of joint mobilizations, or small and large oscillations of a particular joint, has had great success in clinical research trials while showing dramatic improvements in patient outcomes in clinical work. These mobilizations, coupled with joint manipulations, have become common practice in many outpatient physical therapy clinics, and have allowed the profession to take a positive step in an autonomous direction.
Another technique employed by physical therapist is the use of therapeutic and neuromuscular retraining exercises. These are specific exercises designed to solidify the manual therapy work provided prior. Through these exercises, therapists aim to retrain the way an individual moves in order to identify aberrant movement patterns, correct those patterns, and ensure that those patterns do not return and thus cause re-injury. Exercises can range from simple bicep curls, balance exercises, or sling work focusing on multiple muscle groups, as well as many other different types. The equipment utilized for these exercises ranges on the expertise of the physical therapist. Some will use theraband or theratube for added resistance, TRX bands for core stability or muscle isolation, while some therapists simply use manual resistance while having the individual move through common movement pattern. All of these exercise techniques, as well as many others, have been shown to make drastic improvements in patient function and lives.
Once a patient feels as though they are improving from their injury, the therapist may decide to utilize work-hardening exercises or simulation to ensure that the patient returns to their duties with a decreased chance of re-injury. Work-hardening exercises aim to simulate the daily duties of someone who completes hard manual labor throughout their day. For those that spend more time at the desk throughout the day, a physical therapist may work with the patient on posture while sitting at the desk, exercises to complete throughout the day in order to prevent re-injury while maintaining the new physical shape developed while with the physical therapist.
There are a number of different physical therapy treatment options that can be employed by a physical therapist in order to ensure a quick and speedy recovery for the patient. These techniques often depend on the type of injury, type of therapist and the comfort of the patient, but all of these ensure that the patient will be active and pain-free in a short amount of time.