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Practical Overview of Physical Therapy

A practical overview of physical therapy

Physical therapy is a medical discipline that most people are certainly aware of, especially as it pertains to injury or post-surgical rehabilitation. However, it can still be surprising to learn how physical therapy can treat a wide range of injuries and conditions while promoting overall health and wellness. 

Physical therapists are experts in musculoskeletal anatomy and how different parts of the body must work together to function properly. This means physical therapists are uniquely qualified to identify and address pain and mobility problems caused by any number of conditions, from sports-related injuries to degenerative conditions like arthritis. What’s more, by strengthening the body and improving range of motion and posture, physical therapy can help patients become more resilient and less prone to injury. 

If you’re investigating physical therapy as a potential treatment for your pain and mobility problems, a great first step is educating yourself as a patient about the training therapists receive, the conditions they treat and the specific methods they can use to achieve goals. As you read the following overview, feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions or if you’d like to learn more about how we can help.

Physical therapists receive intensive training

To practice in the field of physical therapy, a prospective physical therapist must receive a degree from an accredited graduate school. Education for physical therapists is built on a solid foundation of evidence-based clinical sciences that stress the highly interrelated nature of the body and the musculoskeletal system. 

Upon receiving a graduate degree, therapists must then pass a licensing exam administered by the state they will be practicing in. Physical therapists practice in a wide spectrum of facilities, from independent clinics such as this one, to hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation centers. 

Physical therapy treats many causes of pain and reduced functioning

With the training they receive, physical therapists can meet with patients to determine the underlying causes that are negatively affecting their functionality and quality of life. The conditions that physical therapists treat include:

  • Neck and back pain caused by injury and age-related spine conditions
  • Foot, knee and ankle injuries
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries
  • Hand and wrist problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Neurological problems such as stroke rehabilitation and fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis 
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation 

Since every patient and condition is different, physical therapists are trained to provide a full assessment that includes a review of medical history, a discussion of symptoms and a physical evaluation that includes movement and posture testing. 

Primary methods of physical therapy treatment

The physical therapists can then work with a patient to develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve symptoms, restore functionality and improve long-term health. The exact methods used will depend on the specific cause of symptoms and the patient’s medical and treatment background. 

In general, treatment can be divided into active measures that patients perform themselves, such as strength and stability exercises, and passive treatments that are performed on patients by the therapist, such as manual therapy. 

Another large part of physical therapy treatment is patient education on topics including lifestyle choices like diet, workplace ergonomics and how to properly perform therapeutic exercise and other treatments at home. 

Experience the SOL Physical Therapy difference

At SOL Physical Therapy we place a high value on delivering service, excellence, positivity and integrity to every person who comes to us for us relief. Our highly skilled and credentialed team will help you create a treatment plan that is right for your needs and lifestyle. We’ve been helping patients in the Bay Area recapture their lives and get back to the people and activities they love since 1997. 

Learn more and schedule your initial appointment when you contact our team today.