What is physical therapy?

What Is Physical Therapy? | SSOR

Physical therapy is a health care practice that focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal and movement conditions, injuries, and disorders. It is performed by licensed physical therapists. These physical therapists use a variety of techniques and interventions to address each individual patient’s goals. 

What are the goals of physical therapy? 

The goals of physical therapy are to help the patient to improve their physical function, reduce pain and discomfort, restore mobility, and improve their overall quality of life. This can be achieved through the techniques and interventions employed by physical therapists. These can include therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, balance training, taping, and dry needling

What are a few benefits of physical therapy? 

In a session, you and your physical therapist will focus on working through the personalized treatment plan they’ve created for you. Regularly attending personalized treatment sessions with your physical therapist can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Individualized care — The care that you receive in your physical therapy sessions is customized to your injury or condition, needs and recovery goals. Individualized care also means that your physical therapist takes the time to help you gain an in-depth understanding of the treatments being used to help you, the effects of these treatments, and how the entire treatment process will go.
  • Building trust — Physical therapy sessions are intended to build a trusting relationship between you and your physical therapist. They’re also designed to provide you with a higher comfort level than you might achieve in a group setting. Additionally, the individual focus of your PT sessions can help the therapist to keep better track of your progress, as well as any potential issues that arise during your sessions.

  • Improved mobility and muscle strength — Physical therapy is intended to help you improve your mobility and range of motion through exercises and hands-on or manual therapy. Under the direct guidance of your physical therapist, you can learn exercises that can specifically help address your injury or condition. Your therapist can also show you how to modify your exercises if needed. In addition, your therapist can use hands-on therapy techniques like joint mobilization to help boost your overall mobility, flexibility and range of motion.

  • Reduction in sessions — Thanks to the more individualized focus of physical therapy, it could be possible for the number of sessions to be decreased. This can be due to you being continuously engaged and working during your entire session. 

What does a physical therapy session look like?

The exact structure of a physical therapy session may vary clinic to clinic and even patient to patient. Here is a look at some of the things your sessions may include:

  • Evaluation and assessment — Each session will begin with a review of your medical history and discussion of your current symptoms and concerns. During your first session, your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to assess your range of motion, strength, posture, functional abilities and flexibility based on your specific concerns. They will continue to ask you questions about your symptoms and assess your progress during all subsequent sessions.

  • Goal setting and tracking — Based on the initial evaluation and assessment, you and your physical therapist will develop realistic and achievable treatment goals. These goals can include pain reduction, mobility improvement, an increase in strength or other goals. Your therapist will develop your personalized treatment program with these goals in mind. They will also review your goals with you and let you know which ones you have achieved during your remaining sessions.

  • Applying treatment techniques — Depending on the condition being treated, your physical therapist will use a variety of techniques best suited to your needs. These may include therapeutic exercises to strengthen specific muscle groups, manual therapy techniques to help with muscle tension, electrical stimulation, or hydrotherapy. As you work through your custom treatment program, your therapist will apply the specific treatment techniques included in your program.

  • Hands-on guidance and encouragement — During each session, your physical therapist will be able to provide hands-on guidance and feedback. This helps to ensure that you are properly performing movements and exercises. Proper execution is important for achieving goals. Your therapist will also encourage and motivate you through each session so that you stay focused on your goals and completing your treatment.

  • Progress tracking and documentation — Your physical therapist will keep track of your progress during each session and from session to session. They will also make adjustments to your treatment plan and goals as necessary based on how you are responding to therapy. Your physical therapist may also be able to share tracking documentation with you upon request.

  • Post session work — After a session, your physical therapist may assign “homework” for you to complete at home. This could include exercises or self-care techniques like heat or ice therapy. These will be prescribed to help you reach your full potential and reinforce your in-session progress. 

SSOR can help you meet your goals with one-on-one physical therapy sessions

If you are interested in learning more about one-on-one physical therapy or want to schedule your first appointment, SSOR is here to help. Our expert team can help provide you with detailed information about our physical therapy sessions and answer any questions you may have. We can also build you a treatment plan that’s designed to meet your goals and needs and treat your specific injury or chronic condition. 

Contact us today for more information about how our physical therapists can assist you or to schedule an initial appointment.