Physical Therapy - Types of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy nearly always involves exercise of
some kind that is specifically designed for your injury, illness, condition, or
to help prevent future health problems.
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.
Also, exercise can include
stretching to reduce stress on joints, core stability
exercises to strengthen the muscles of your trunk (your back and abdomen) and
hips, lifting weights to
walking, doing water aerobics, and many other forms of
activity. Your physical therapist is likely to teach you how to do an exercise
program on your own at home so you can continue to work toward your fitness
goals and prevent future problems.
- Fitness: Increasing Core Stability
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
Manual therapy can include:
- Massage. Pressure is applied to the soft tissues of the body,
such as the muscles. Massage can help relax muscles, increase circulation, and
ease pain in the soft tissues.
- Mobilization. Slow, measured movements are 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.
- Manipulation. Pressure is 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.
Physical therapy almost always includes
education and training in areas such as:
- Performing your daily tasks
- Protecting your joints and avoiding
- Using assistive devices such as crutches or
- Doing home exercises designed to help with your injury
- Making your home safe for you if you have strength,
balance, or vision problems.
In some locations, physical
therapists are specially trained to be involved in other types of treatment,
- Vestibular rehabilitation, which helps your
inner ear respond to changes in your body position. This is helpful if you have
vertigo, or a feeling that you or your surroundings
are spinning or tilting when there is actually no movement. Rehabilitation
(rehab) can help you get used to the problem so you know when to expect it. And
rehab can train your body to know how to react.
- Wound care. Wounds
that are very severe or don't heal well, often because of poor blood flow to
the area, can require extensive care. This may include special cleaning and
bandaging on a regular and long-term basis. Sometimes oxygen treatment or electrical stimulation is part of
- Pelvic health. Physical therapists can provide instruction in exercises to help control
urinary incontinence or to relieve pelvic
- Oncology (cancer care), to help if cancer or treatment for
cancer causes you to have problems with movement.
lymphatic drainage, which is a special form of massage to help reduce swelling
lymphatic system is not properly draining fluids from