When injury or disease limit a patient’s ability to move and enjoy day-to-day activities without hurting, physical therapy helps restore movement and function. Physical therapy can increase strength, balance, and range of motion while reducing stiffness and pain. In some cases it may even be a safe and non-invasive alternative to pain medications or surgery.
Because physical therapy is used to treat an incredibly wide variety of ailments, each patient’s experience may be slightly different. In general, however, physical therapy appointments will consist of an examination, physical therapy treatments, and instructions about helpful ways to move or techniques to approach physical challenges.
The treatments used in physical therapy help to increase movement, reduce pain, and speed healing. They may include, among others:
Heat or cold therapy
Physical therapy is useful for many different problems. Almost any injury or disease that makes it painful or difficult to move can be treated with physical therapy. A few examples of conditions regularly seen by physical therapists include:
Injuries, including fractures, sprains, and strains
Lower back pain
Stroke or brain injury
Dizziness and loss of balance
Being able to go about your daily life effectively and comfortably is a key component of independence. Restoring that function is the work of physical therapists.