When someone is injured in a slip and fall, auto accident, on-the-job injury, or any other incident, they need medical care and time to heal. In many cases, physical therapy is part of the healing process. Physical therapy nearly involves an exercise of some kind that is specifically designed for your injury, illness, or condition. PT can also be done to help prevent future health problems. A physical therapist will create a program of educational, range-of-motion, strengthening, and endurance activities to meet your needs.
The dictionary definition of a Physical Therapist is as follows:
Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.
Exercise is anything you do in addition to your regular daily activity that will improve your flexibility strength, coordination, or endurance. It even includes changing how you do your regular activities to give you some health benefits. For example, if you park a little farther away from the door of the grocery store, the extra distance you walk is exercise. If you take the stairs instead of the elevator, that is physical exercise. Exercise can include stretching to reduce stress on joints; core stability exercises to strengthen the muscles of your trunk, your back, abdomen, and hips; lifting weights to strengthen muscles; walking or jogging; doing water aerobics, and many other forms of activity.
When your doctor recommends physical therapy, you work with a physical therapist (typically at their facility) to heal and strengthen the parts of your body affected by your accident or incident. Your physical therapist knows hundreds of different exercises and movements that address specific tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. Once you complete physical therapy to a certain degree (you are making progress and healing properly) it is likely that the therapist will teach you how to do an exercise program on your own at home so you can continue to work toward your healing goals and prevent future problems.
Manual therapy, sometimes called bodywork, is a general term for treatment performed mostly with the hands. The goals of manual therapy include relaxation, decreased pain, and increased flexibility. Manual therapy often includes:
A. Massage – Pressure applied to the soft tissues of the body, especially the muscles. Massage can help relax muscles, increase circulation, and ease pain in the soft tissues. Massage is beneficial and can be very therapeutic.
B. Mobilization – Slow, measured movements used to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position. This can help loosen tight tissues around a joint and help with flexibility and alignment.
C. Manipulation. Pressure applied to a joint. It can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong and from slow to rapid.
Some patients may have suffered injuries that will have lifelong effects, or they have developed an ongoing condition, so that they may need to deal with chronic (ongoing) pain.
Physical therapy can help these patients live more easily with chronic or health problems such as spinal stenosis, limited use of a limb, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. In the cases where they are helping the injured, such as a patient with neck and back pain from an auto accident, physical therapists address the issues of range of motion, strength, endurance, mobility (walking, going up and down stairs, getting in and out of a be or chair), and safety. The physical therapist may also identify the equipment that the patient will need, such as a walker or wheelchair, and make sure that the patient can use the equipment appropriately.
The Bendinelli Law Firm welcomes your questions regarding healing after an auto accident or other injury. If you think that someone may be responsible for your injury, at least in part, you can contact a personal injury lawyer in Denver to request a Free Consultation to discuss your potential case. We serve Denver and surrounding areas.
Some of the information in this article was obtained from WebMD and the American Physical Therapy Association.