What do physical therapists actually do?

Physical therapists are medical experts in the movement and function of the body. In order to live a healthy and happy lifestyle, work at our jobs, take care of our families, and do activities we enjoy, it is important to be able to move without any difficulty or pain. When conditions or injuries develop that causes pain and interference with our lives, a physical therapist can provide treatment to get our life back. They not only treat patients who are ill, but physical therapists also work with many patients to help them avoid surgery, prevent injury, or prevent loss of movement.  

Physical therapists also work with athletes to identify any potential problems that may be forming and develop treatment programs to help prevent these issues. They also consult with companies to help workers avoid the overuse of certain muscles or other painful conditions.

How do physical therapists treat patients?

Physical therapy in Baltimore, MD, like from LeMoine Physical Therapy, is a hands-on medical approach, using exercise and functional training. Some of the more common types of treatments that may be used to help a patient includes:

·       At home exercise

·       Joint mobilization

·       Muscle massage

·       Ultrasound

·       Hot packs

·       Ice

·       Stretching exercises

What takes place during a patient’s initial evaluation with a physical therapist?

The first thing a physical therapist will do is discuss the patient’s medical history with them, as well as any current problems or issues they are having. They will determine the level of pain the patient is suffering from and how this pain is impacting their daily life and/or limiting activity.

The therapist will then begin a physical evaluation. This evaluation may include the following:

·       Palpations: This involves touching around the area where the patient is experiencing pain or other problems. The physical therapist will be checking for any swelling, tenderness, tissue temperature, soft tissue integrity, inflammation, and more.

·       Range of Motion (ROM): The therapist will move the joints of the patient to determine what the quality of movement is and if there are any restrictions to that movement.

·       Muscle Testing: With this testing, the therapist is checking the quality of the contraction of the muscle, as well as the strength. He or she could also be looking for any weakness and pain associating with contractions.

·       Neurological Screening: Depending on the issues the patient is having, the therapist may also want to evaluate how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, how they sense pain, touch, temperature, or vibration. This can also include assessing the patient’s reflexes.

·       Assessment of Posture: The therapist will check to see what the positions of the joints are compared to what the ideal position should be.

·       Special Tests: There are a variety of other tests that the physical therapist can use to either confirm or rule out any additional issues or problems. These tests are determined by what the patient’s condition or complaints are.