The physical therapist is a specially trained health professional who assists patients in restoring strength to muscles and improving range of motion after surgery or an injury. These healthcare workers also treat chronic pain conditions. Physical therapy involves many treatment modalities, such as massage, electrical stimulation, heat/cold treatments, and ultrasound therapy.
What training is required for the physical therapist?
The physical therapist has knowledge of deficiencies in body biomechanics. To relieve stress on certain body parts, the therapist works with the patient and targets weakened body areas. The therapist has training in surgical procedures, anatomy and physiology, treatment options, and chronic pain conditions.
What techniques are employed during physical therapy?
The physical therapy treatment plan is uniquely tailored to suit each patient. The goals are to assist with full recovery following an injury or after surgery, and to achieve pain relief. Therapies used include:
- Spinal manipulation – This involves using the hands to control force exerted to the spinal joint. The amount of force used depends on the type of manipulation required.
- Stretching tight muscles and joints – One component of physical therapy is stretching exercises. Stretching will maintain joint function, range of motion, and integrity. For a person with tight muscles, simple activities are painful, such as riding in a car or climbing the stairs. Stretching is also used to prevent scar formation.
- Strengthening exercises – These maneuvers are used to improve muscle function and prevent fatigue. Physical therapy is used to improve or maintain strength, endurance, and function. Post-operative exercises are used to help with recovery after surgery, and these prevent complications.
- Core strengthening – The body’s trunk (chest, abdomen, pelvis, and back) is called the core. This area is the foundation of the human body. When core muscles are weak, it is hard for the person to perform various maneuvers. Injury to the spine is more likely when cores muscles are weak.
- Heat/cold therapy – Ice is used in physical therapy to reduce inflammation and cool down muscles. Heat is used to soothe pain and warm up muscles.
- Ultrasound – High frequency sound waves can be transmitted into the body’s deep tissues. Ultrasonic waves will stimulate healing. The therapist passes a special probe over the injured or damaged body area, which stimulates tissues and increases blood flow through vessel dilation.
- Electrical stimulation – With this form of therapy, electrical current is applied to the body. If nerve condition is affected in one body region, it can alter muscle contractility and increase blood flow. This therapy is useful for blocking transmission of pain signals to the brain.
Does physical therapy work?
In a recent review of clinical studies, physical therapy was used to treat symptomatic degenerative disc disease and chronic low back pain. Researchers found that exercises decreased back pain and improved range of motion. In another review, spinal manipulation was found to be superior to other interventions for improving joint function and reducing pain.
As the top pain management clinics in Boulder, Loveland and Greeley, Colorado Clinic offers comprehensive treatments to help you achieve relief. This includes medication management, interventional procedures, stem cell therapy and physical therapy as well.
For all of your pain relief needs in Colorado, call the location closest to you today!