The basics of physical therapy

Basics of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a form of treatment that works to restore function and relieve pain for patients dealing with all manner of conditions, including injuries, age-related conditions, post-surgical recovery and neurological issues. With their expertise in the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, physical therapists use a combination of techniques, such as strengthening exercises and manual therapy, to accomplish treatment goals. 

Additionally, physical therapy can also play an important preventative role in reducing the body’s risk for injury development. Athletes in particular can benefit from working with a physical therapist to improve form, posture and biomechanics in their chosen activity. 

No matter what your reason is for seeking out physical therapy, being an informed patient is fundamental to you taking a proactive role in your care. This is why we’ve created the following guide to help you better understand the full range of options available to you. We’re always here to help answer any questions you have. 

Training to be a physical therapist

Physical therapists need to receive a thorough clinical education from an accredited school in order to learn the knowledge and skills necessary for this field. Along with needing to be able to recognize the issues within their treatment scope, physical therapists should also be able to identify potential conditions that may require the assistance of other medical professionals. 

Once a therapist earns a degree, which can range from a master’s degree to a doctorate, he or she must pass a licensing exam to be able to practice professionally. From there, physical therapists can practice in independent clinics, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals or many other types of practices. 

Conditions treated with physical therapy 

By working to improve the overall health and functioning of the body, physical therapy is a treatment discipline that can help with a wide range of health problems. While it is 

most commonly associated with areas such as injury and surgical rehabilitation, physical therapy can be part of a treatment plan for a broad range of conditions that cause pain and limit mobility. 

Here are some of the many conditions that patients who seek out physical therapy are dealing with: 

  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Workplace injuries
  • Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis
  • Neurological conditions like fibromyalgia
  • Post-surgical recovery and rehabilitation
  • Balance disorders and vertigo
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain

How physical therapy offers relief

A physical therapist has a number of techniques and tools to help patients find relief and get back to a higher level of functioning. The first step is to identify the issues that are causing pain and limiting mobility. This is typically accomplished with the following steps:

  • An in-depth discussion of symptoms and how they are affecting daily activities
  • A review of medical and treatment history, including any diagnostic imagery
  • A full physical evaluation including range-of-motion, movement and posture tests

With the information obtained from this assessment, a physical therapist can then work with a patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. This commonly includes therapeutic exercises to stretch and strengthen the body as well as manual therapy to relax muscles and activate stiff joints and tissues. 

Patient education is also a key part of a physical therapy program. Therapists can give practical advice about healthy lifestyle choices like getting regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet while also providing instruction on home care and exercises to supplement in-clinic sessions. 

Physical therapy expertise at SSOR 

At SSOR, our patient experience is built on compassion and delivering rapid results, licensed and highly skilled therapists, transparency and convenient locations with flexible scheduling. We’re proud to serve Prairie Village, Overland Park and Shawnee, Kansas, with state-of-the-art clinics and a friendly, expertly trained staff. 

Learn more and start your treatment journey today when you contact our team to make your initial appointment.