What is Physical Therapy or Physical Rehabilitation?

Physiotherapy, or Physical Therapy as it is commonly referred to, is a branch of health care that is directly involved and concerned with the remediation of injuries, impairments, and disabilities that hinder normal or proper bodily function. Physical therapy heavily promotes increased mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement. Through examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and physical intervention.

Due to the immense about of knowledge in regards to physical therapy, physical therapists usually focus their energies and specialty in one specific clinical area. While their are many sub-divisions of physical therapy the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties lists only eight specialist certifications, all of which MCN has effective and long standing relationships with. It should be duly noted that all physical therapists associated with the Medical Consulting Network under a specific specialty have received further clinical training.

Each year, 50% of Americans over the age of 18 develop a musculoskeletal injury that lasts longer than 3 months.

In 2007, an Estimated 9 million adults utilized outpatient physical therapy services

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary rehabilitation respiratory practitioners and physical therapists treat a wide variety of cardiopulmonary disorders of pre and post cardiac or pulmonary surgery. The primary goals of therapists are to increase endurance and functional independence. Manual therapy is used in this specialty to assists in clearing the lung secretions associated with diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Individuals suffering from disorders such as heart attacks, post coronary bypass surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary fibrosis can benefit from treatments in this field.

Clinical electrophysiology is a specialty that utilizes electrotherapy/physical agents in the care and management of wounds.

Geriatric physical therapy covers a wide encompassing area of issues relating to people of all ages as they go through normal adult life, it specializes and focuses specifically on the older adult. Issues that Geriatric therapists are equipped can include but are not limited to arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, balance disorders, incontinence etc.

Integumentary therapists are familiar with conditions that affect and involve the skin and its related organs/functions. Commonly managed conditions include wounds and burns. Therapists may use certain surgical equipment, mechanical leverage, medical dressings, and topical agents to clear necrotic tissue and promote healthy tissue growth. Additional interventions usually include exercise, edema, splinting, and compression garments.

Neurological physical therapy is a unique field focused on helping individuals who have a neurological disorder or disease. Patients of this specialty usually suffer from things such as strokes, chronic back pain, Alzheimer’s disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, ALS, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries. Common impairments associated with neurological conditions include impairments of vision, balance, 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.

Sports Physical therapists can be involved in the care and well being of athletes including recreational, semi-professional (paid) and professional (full-time employment) participants. This area of practice encompasses complete athletic injury management under 5 main categories:

  1. acute care – assessment and diagnosis of an initial injury;
  2. treatment – application of specialist advice and techniques to encourage healing;
  3. rehabilitation – progressive management for full return to sport;
  4. prevention – identification and address of deficiencies known to directly result in, or act as precursors to injury
  5. education – sharing of specialist knowledge to individual athletes, teams or clubs to assist in prevention or management of injury

Physical therapists who work for professional sport teams often have a specialized sports certification issued through their national registering organisation. Most Physical therapists who practice in a sporting environment are also active in sports medicine programs too.

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Alard Collins

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Kamela Vinston

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Seffi brown

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