The goal of physical therapy (PT) or physiotherapy is to improve mobility, restore function, reduce pain, and prevent further injury by using a variety of methods, including exercises, stretches, traction, electrical stimulation, and massage. Special tools are used, such as hot or cold packs, crutches, braces, treadmills, prosthetics, compression vests, computer-assisted feedback, lasers, and ultrasound. Patients range in age from newborns to the elderly.
Physical therapy is tailored to the patient's condition and health issues. A common goal of physical therapy is to increase how the patient functions at home and at work.
At the first visit, a physical therapist reviews medical records, examines the patient, and talks with the patient. Physical therapists may spend up to 25% of a visit speaking or listening to a patient to identify current and potential problems. Depending on the patient's health, abilities, and goals, the physical therapist outlines a treatment plan, including the anticipated outcomes and a timetable for reaching goals. The physical therapist may also conduct tests to establish a baseline, to see how much the patient improves during therapy. The patient may be instructed on exercises to do at home.
Patients who don’t follow a physical therapist's instructions for at-home exercises or other interventions, such as shoe inserts, may slow or reduce progress.
MojoGuru believes that you should feel comfortable asking the physical therapist any questions about expectations and the proposed plan of care.
Physical therapy was first documented in China around 3000 BC with the use of joint manipulation and massage to relieve pain. The ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates wrote about massage and hydrotherapy in 460 BC, and splints and exercises were used to treat wounded Roman gladiators. The modern discipline of physical therapy emerged to treat soldiers wounded in World War II.
Physical therapy is commonly used for musculoskeletal injuries, joint pain or disorders, low back pain, cerebral palsy, and rehabilitation after injury or surgery, including heart surgery or mastectomy. Physical therapy, especially early physical therapy, can be painful, and many patients use medications for pain during therapy.
All physiotherapists on MojoGuru have graduated from an accredited physical therapy program and pass a licensing exam before they practice. A physical therapy program includes supervised clinical experience and coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and therapeutic techniques. Physical therapists work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and patients' homes. Patients may be referred to a physical therapist by a doctor or may directly contact a physical therapist.
Various types of physical therapy address specific problems. Musculoskeletal physical therapy uses massage and joint movement to increase strength, motor control, and flexibility. Cardiopulmonary physical therapy treats lung and heart conditions, such as cerebral palsy, asthma, and post-heart attack rehabilitation, by clearing the lungs of mucus, ventilating the lungs to ease breathing, or exercising to increase a patient's ability to move.
Neurological physical therapy works to restore balance, coordination, and motor function through repeated exercises for patients with spinal injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain and nerve disorders. Integumentary physical therapy uses wound cleaning, scar prevention, and scar reduction to help patients with wounds, burns, and other skin-related problems.
Note: MojoGuru does not recommend any treatment, therapy or particular provider. We do not recommend that you self-diagnose. If you are suffering from a health condition and before starting a new treatment or therapy, we do recommend that you first consult a GP. More