How physical therapy helps

young lady going through physical therapy

How often have you heard somebody say they are going through physical therapy?

Seems to be a pretty common thing these days, but have you ever wondered to yourself what exactly is that physical therapy can do? Do you have to go to a physical therapy office, or can you do physical therapy at home? 

We’re going to use this article to talk about physical therapy and answer some common physical therapy questions. Maybe you could benefit from physical therapy? Read on and let’s find out! First, let’s discuss how physical therapy works, it may not be what you think. 

It can make you nervous seeing a medical professional of any type, but when you aren’t sure what you should expect, it can make you even more nervous. Especially if you aren’t clear on how it will help! 

Your physical therapy appointment will be with an educated, licensed professional, a physical therapist. They will discuss why you’re there, what your difficulties and pains are, and if it is keeping your from performing everyday tasks.  They’ll ask if your injury is from an accident or sports injury, are you recovering from an illness or surgery, etc. 

The answers to their questions will help the determine the best type of therapy and tailor a plan to your specific situation. The goal is to not only ease your pain, but help you get your body healed and strong again. Physical therapy sessions are made of three elements: 

  • Assess and exam.
  • Diagnose.
  • Create and implement a treatment plan.

Throughout your physical therapy, the therapist will review these elements to determine if your treatment is making any improvements. 

Is physical therapy like personal training?

Yes and no. Both of these professions share the commitment to help patients improve their health and well-being with physical activity. However, that is where the similarities stop. The differences in each professional are distinct in these areas:

  • Educational requirements 
  • Licensing requirements
  • Work environment
  • Scope of practice
  • A physical therapist has a 4 year undergraduate degree followed by 3 years in physical therapy school, then pass an arduous exam to become state board licensed as a health care professional. They gain a strong foundation of knowledge of the body’s anatomy and physiology and learn how to address specific injuries in order to fix injured tissues with specific techniques. A physical therapist is an educated expert in the evaluating and treating musculoskeletal injuries.
  • A personal trainer is educated on how to improve a person’s flexibility, strength, and overall fitness. They may choose to become specialized in improving a person’s athletic abilities and performance, but they are not required to have any specific education level or meet any licensing requirements. A personal trainer will usually be degreed in exercise physiology or similar field. Most personal trainers have certification from National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE). 

What is the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy?

Nothing, they are the same thing with the only difference being a regional difference. What we mean by that is it depends on what part of the world you live will determine if your taking physical therapy and physiotherapy.  

Here in Pennsylvania and all through this country, it is referred to a Physical Therapy. However, in Australia, Canada, and Europe is typically referred to as physiotherapy. 

It is the opinion of many health practitioners that physiotherapy is manual therapy, a hands-on therapy with the goal of improving a patient’s injury with fascial release, joint mobilizations, soft tissue release, stretching. This is a difference in opinion of the approach being an exercise-based method that provides a patient instructions on exercises that improve balance, sharpen coordination, and strengthen muscles.

Both physical therapy and physiotherapy require a level of medical background with a focus on preventing injury, improving flexibility, and managing acute pain. Both treat patients that are suffering from an injury, primarily for back and neck pain, injuries caused by accidents or sports, joint immobility, and other issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. 

therapist assisting in exercise

What or who decides when to stop physical therapy?

Soft tissue typically takes between 6 week and 8 weeks to health. There are injuries that can take longer and some that will heal quicker. A patient with a serious or a progressively worsening condition will take a longer period of time.

It is generally recommended that a patient reaches the physical therapy goals that were determined during initial visit with the physical therapist or until the therapist suggest the patient needs their condition re-evaluated. 

A patient that heals rapidly, gaining their range of motion and getting stronger faster, with ability to control their pain without medication with only a few sessions may be released form physical therapy in the clinic and given a routine of physical therapy exercises to do at home. 

Yes, there are exercises and routine for physical therapy you can do at home. Often part of physical therapy will require the patient do some of the exercises at home in between their sessions. This is to help speed up recovery, but caution is needed not to over work the muscles and tissues.  Call (717) 263-8919 today for your physical therapy needs in Chambersburg, PA.