What is Physical Therapy?

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What is Physical Therapy?

In my experience as a physical therapist, I’ve noticed that our profession doesn’t always do a great job of conveying exactly what it is that we do. This results in some confusion for the general public. We are often mistaken for massage therapists, personal trainers, or nurses. Today I would like to take the time to explain a little more about the wonderful world of physical therapy and how we, as therapists, can help you.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) is a healthcare specialty that includes the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of individuals with limitations in movement. PT services can only be provided by licensed physical therapists (PTs) or physical therapist assistants (PTAs). Therapists work in a variety of healthcare settings including: hospitals, home health, schools, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient clinics.

Physical therapy can help with many common conditions and injuries. Here at Peak PT & Wellness, we often work with individuals with the following diagnoses:

·      Back pain

·      Neck pains

·      Shoulder pain

·      Hip pain

·      Knee pain

·      Ankle pain

·      Arthritis

·      Muscle strains

·      Sciatica

·      Recovery from orthopedic surgery such as total joint replacements or ligament reconstruction

·      Parkinson’s disease

·      Stroke

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How do physical therapists help people?

Therapists use a variety of evidence-based techniques to help people move and feel better. Examples of these techniques include:

·      Strengthening

·      Stretching

·      Postural education and training

·      Balance training

·      Gait training

·      Manual therapy for joint stiffness and pain

·      Education on body mechanics

·      Dry needling

·      Taping

·      Cupping

·      Pain-relieving modalities like electrical stimulation and ultrasound

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Treatment is very personalized and focuses on restoring proper movement and function so that the individual participating in PT can be as independent as possible and return to living the life they want to live. Choosing physical therapy has been shown to help individuals recover quickly and safely, while reducing overall healthcare care costs (for example: reducing the need for medication, imaging, or surgery).

Here at Peak PT & Wellness we recognize people in our community live busy lives and we strive to make the most of our clients’ time by providing one-on-one skilled care. We create detailed home exercise programs so that there isn’t a need to come into the clinic more than necessary. Our goal is to empower the patient to manage their impairments independently.

Do I need a referral from my doctor to see a physical therapist?

No. In the state of Ohio, direct access laws allow patients to see a licensed physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. To maintain a well-rounded plan of care, the therapist does have to notify the patient’s physician that he or she is under the care of a licensed physical therapist. In addition, if the patient has not made significant progress under the supervision of the PT, it is required that patient be referred back to their medical doctor for further evaluation.

Eliminating the need for a physician referral can help keep healthcare costs under control and allow the client to be treated sooner. 

How do I know if physical therapy is right for me?

Although we believe most individuals can benefit from some type of physical therapy, we recognize that PT isn’t always the solution. If your pain or dysfunction is related to non-musculoskeletal sources like cancer or arterial blockage or you have uncontrolled medical conditions such as congestive heart failure or COPD and cannot tolerate exercise, physical therapy may not be appropriate for you.

If you would like to learn more about physical therapy and find out if you’re a good candidate, feel free to give us a call at 877-791-PEAK (7325) or send us an email at laurel@peakptwellness.com or schuyler@peakptwellness.com.

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alexandra miller