Physical therapy or physiotherapy, often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention carried out by physical therapists known as physiotherapists and physical therapist assistants known as physical rehabilitation therapists or physiotherapy assistants. In addition to clinical practice, other activities encompassed in the physical therapy profession include research, education, consultation, and administration.
Because the body of knowledge of physical therapy is quite large, some PTs specialize in a specific clinical area. While there are many different types of physical therapy:
Cardiovascular & pulmonary
Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation respiratory practitioners and physical therapists treat a wide variety of individuals with cardiopulmonary disorders or those who have had cardiac or pulmonary surgery. Primary goals of this specialty include increasing endurance and functional independence. Manual therapy is used in this field to assist in clearing lung secretions
This specialty area encompasses electrotherapy/physical agents, electrophysiological evaluation (EMG/NCV), physical agents, and wound management.
Geriatric physical therapy covers a wide area of issues concerning people as they go through normal adult aging but is usually focused on the older adult. There are many conditions that affect many people as they grow older and include but are not limited to the following: arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, balance disorders, incontinence, etc.
Integumentary or the treatment of conditions involving the skin and related organs, Common conditions managed include wounds and burns. Physical therapists utilize surgical instruments, mechanical lavage, dressings and topical agents to debride necrotic tissue and promote tissue healing. Other commonly used interventions include exercise, edema control, splinting, and compression garments.
Neurological physical therapy is a field focused on working with individuals who have a neurological disorder or disease. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), ALS, brain injury, cerebral palsy, l.g.b.syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, and stroke. Common impairments associated with neurologic conditions include impairments of vision, balance, and ambulation, activities of daily living, movement, muscle strength and loss of functional independence. Physiotherapy can address many of these impairments and aid in restoring and maintaining function, slowing disease progression, and improving quality of life.
Orthopedic physical therapists diagnose, manage, and treat disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system including rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery. This specialty of physical therapy is most often found in the out-patient clinical setting. Orthopedic therapists are trained in the treatment of post-operative orthopedic procedures, fractures, acute sports injuries, arthritis, sprains, strains, back and neck pain, spinal conditions, and amputations.
Pediatric physical therapy assists in early detection of health problems and uses a wide variety of modalities to treat disorders in the pediatric population. These therapists are specialized in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of infants, children, and adolescents with a variety of congenital, developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal, or acquired disorders/diseases. Treatments focus on improving gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and endurance as well as cognitive and sensory processing/integration. Children with developmental delays, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or torticollis may be treated by pediatric physical therapists.
Physical therapists can be involved in the care of athletes from recreational to professional and Olympians. This area of practice includes athletic injury management, including acute care, treatment and rehabilitation, prevention, and education. Physical therapists are also active in sports medicine programs. Physical therapists who work for professional sport teams often have this specialized certification.
Women’s health physical therapy addresses women’s issues related to child birth, and post-partum. These conditions include lymphedema, osteoporosis, pelvic pain, prenatal and post partum periods, and urinary incontinence.
Health-gossip will include more articles relating physiotherapy and also various conditions and their management with physical maneuvers. We will also include discussions on various manipulative techniques used and latest trends on physiotherapy.
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