A Physical therapy clinic bridges the gap between post-hospitalization and the patient’s primary care practitioner. In essence, physical therapy is mainstream medicines answer to chiropractic care. Their techniques are similar, but not precisely the same.
Chiropractic care revolves around an adjustment or spinal manipulation to keep all vertebrae in the spine in correct alignment. The contention is a correctly aligned spine will encourage the body’s self-healing mechanism to kick-in and provide natural pain relief.
When the physical therapist (PT) performs a manipulative thrust or spinal manipulation, it is basically to generate mobility in a taunt joint. To clarify only licensed chiropractors perform “adjustments”; whereas, a licensed PT may provide “spinal manipulation”.
Most physical therapy schools have now added manipulation techniques as part of their standard curriculum. In contrast, other countries have taught spinal manipulation in for decades.
After graduating, spinal manipulation is used according to the individual therapist’s discretion. Otherwise, they employ mobilization techniques or passive movement to joints.
Among general procedures performed by PT’s include: range-of-motion exercises, ambulation exercises, coordination exercises and muscle strengthening. One area in particular, where the therapist is a shining star is post-hospitalization care for stroke victims.
People who have suffered strokes must face a long rehabilitative road in order to reach their potential quality of life. Goals are to maintain/improve current physical condition, regain their normal function to the extent possible, relearn previous skills and learn new skills, as needed.
Rehab begins while the patient is still hospitalized and afterward, the PT strives to enhance their activities of daily living. They will also suggest ways to make the person’s home environment safer.
Coordination exercises are taught to the stroke patient who is re-learning to perform simple tasks that restore balance and coordination. Simple tasks, that incorporate a group of muscles, such as picking up a pen, are done repetitively.
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition that can be helped by the physical therapist. Heat therapy may be employed to reduce stiffness and treat muscle spasms. Cold therapy helps relieve pain. To protect the joints, aids such as walkers, canes, crutches and/or splints are commonly used. Licensed therapists may also perform massage therapy with or without additional deep heat and ultrasound.
They will also assist the person with learning stretching and strengthening exercises. Correct exercises strengthen the muscles around compromised joints for shock absorption. Healthy cartilage can be better maintained through exercise.
Sports injuries benefit from therapy, such as traction, water therapy, hot and cold packs, when incorporated with therapeutic exercises.
Clinics that have trained physical therapists on staff play a valuable role in rehabilitation and maintenance of activities of daily living. Now that you know their purpose, it should remove any fear or reluctance about taking advantage of their services.