What is physical therapy?
There can come a time in any person’s life where their mobility is reduced. This could happen through an injury, old age or through a disease or condition. Physical therapy aims to help individuals regain or improve their physical function by implementing a plan to encourage activities and changes in lifestyle that can help avoid future related injuries, improve health in general and, by proxy, wellbeing.
How is physical therapy delivered?
Physical therapy is delivered by a trained Physical Therapist, and the therapist will also give the patient exercises to complete at home, along with other lifestyle changes. A physical therapist is a trained and licensed medical professional who works with individuals to evaluate and treat problems associated with physical function.
What does a physical therapist do?
A Physical therapist will help a patient throughout the healing process, from the diagnosis to restorative processes and measures that can help prevent problems re-occurring. They are essentially movement specialists who aim to improve a patient’s quality of life and may also be employed by someone who wants to become healthier.
Physical Therapist vs. Physiotherapist
Although the two terms are interchangeable in the USA, physical therapy is similar to physiotherapy and occupational therapy but adopts an exercise – based approach to rehabilitation, whereas physiotherapy will include broader aspects such as TENS treatments, for example.
What are the types of Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy can be delivered to promote multiple areas of a patient’s physical wellbeing and, as especially the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation begins to age, Physical Therapy uses will grow and grow over the next generation. The main types of Physical Therapy are:
Paediatric Physical Therapy is designed to aid babies, children and teens to build muscular and skeletal strength and health.
Geriatric Physical Therapy works with problems associated with posture, general movement, leg positioning and movement (gait).
Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Physical Therapy helps to improve and strengthen the heart and circulation, building endurance through exercise.
Neurological Physical Therapy works to improve quality of life from problems associated with spinal cord injuries, or conditions such as: Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries and can also be used in sports rehabilitation programs.
Orthopaedic Physical Therapy focuses on regaining strength in the muscles caused by muscle Atrophy, especially if an injury has left you immobile or with reduced mobility for a period of time.
Vestibular Rehabilitation works to alleviate problems associated with balance caused by inner ear conditions like Vertigo or Chronic Dizziness.
How can we improve mobility through physical therapy?
1. Make an appointment with a Physical Therapist.
The first thing to do in order to benefit from Physical Therapy is to make an appointment with a Physical Therapist. This can be done by yourself through an NDIS provider for example; you don’t necessarily need a doctor’s referral.
2. Make a plan with your therapist.
When you meet with your assigned Physical Therapist, you will complete a physical exam to evaluate your body’s flexibility, posture, muscle and joints amongst other things and they will discuss ways in which you can complete the program successfully.
3. Undergo Treatment.
Your Therapist will create an individualised plan for you, based on your circumstances. This plan will involve physical exercises comprised of planned movements to improve your mobility in all necessary areas.
4. Continue your plan independently.
It is likely that you will be given ‘homework’, when your Physical Therapist advises, that will consist of exercises, daily routine amendments, and even the patient’s diet. Completing these at your therapist’s request will increase your success rates and improve your sense of accomplishment at the same time.
Physical Therapy Exercises That Can Improve Mobility
The subject of physical exercise is hugely broad and deserves an entire website all to itself. Furthermore, it is difficult to assign specific exercises because every situation and every patient is different, with individual needs and goals.
There are some generally accepted, well received and well documented exercises that can help mobility in specific areas of the body, however, and here is a brief overview for you to consider, but please remember that the following information is for general purposes only and does not in any way replace an appointment with a professional therapist:
- Flexibility exercises
- Shoulder exercises
- Neck exercises
- Back stretches and exercises
- Spinal exercises
- Hip exercises
- Ankle mobility exercises
Get in Touch
If you feel you might benefit from Physical Therapy, there may also be other areas of your life that we can help you with at ConnectAbility. As an approved NDIS provider, we offer a range of services for you if you are differently abled or are elderly.