What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy (PT) is an exercise program that helps you improve movement, relieve pain, encourage blood flow for faster healing, and restore your physical function and fitness level. The main goal of physical therapy is to make your daily activities such as walking, getting in and out of bed, or climbing stairs easier. It can be prescribed as an individual treatment program or combined with other treatments. Physical therapy is usually ordered to help you recover after certain surgeries, injuries and long-term health problems such as arthritis.
A physical therapist will examine your symptoms and activity level, and create a treatment plan which primarily focuses on reducing your pain and swelling. The different procedures used by your PT depend on your specific physical complaints.
What does Physical Therapy Involve?
PT incorporates a combination of education, manual therapy, exercise, and technique. Some of the procedures commonly used are:
Surgery, age, and conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis can cause inflammation and stiffness in your joints and muscles while restricting your movement. Physical therapists guide you step by step to stretch different areas of your body to restore flexibility and enhance the movement of joints and muscles.
Core-strengthening and Stability Exercises
Specific exercises are designed to make the core (pelvis and lower back) strong enough to support the whole body.
Ice and heat: Applying heat or cold treatments to muscles can stimulate the blood flow, and reduce pain and swelling. Heat treatment helps to reduce joint pain and spasms in the lower back and neck, and loosen muscles. Cooling works well for sprains and can decrease pain and swelling.
An ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves over your body and stimulates deep body tissues. Vibrations produced by sound waves help to stimulate blood flow and facilitate the healing process. This procedure can also be used to improve metabolism and enhance the adhesiveness of bones after a fracture.
In this procedure, an electric current is passed through the area which requires treatment. This helps to relieve pain, stimulate muscles and nerves, and expand blood vessels.
These treatments may cause mild soreness or swelling. You should talk to your therapist if these symptoms are prolonged.
What is Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a treatment method designed to facilitate recovery after a serious injury, illness or surgery. It is aimed at restoring the physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social function of the patient.
What does Rehabilitation aim at?
The goal of a rehabilitation program varies depending on the patient’s needs but is aimed at achieving a quick recovery. This program assists the patient to return to normal life through therapy or training.
The rehabilitation team works with the patient on various physical activities and flexibility exercises that help to regain the strength and motion of the muscles in the injured site.
What are the various Techniques used during Rehabilitation?
A rehabilitation program often includes stretching and bending exercises, massage, stability exercises, physiotherapy, heat therapy and much more. Various techniques employed in a rehabilitation program have a significance of their own in improving physical performance and restoring the patient to normal activities.
- Stretching and bending exercises improve the flexibility of the muscles at the injured site.
- Massage techniques relieve the tension of the muscles and improve the blood flow to the site of injury.
- Stability exercises restore the functions and movements of broken or injured joints.
- The use of appropriate devices correct biomechanical dysfunction such as specially designed running shoes is recommended for sports individuals with a foot injury. These shoes have a harder material inside of the sole which prevents the foot from rolling in.
- Practising several measures may help you obtain better results from the rehabilitation program.
- Exercise and walk regularly.
- Gradually increase the time and intensity of exercises.
- Choose correct footwear.
- Do not work out on an empty stomach and drink plenty of water during your exercise.
Post-Operative Rehabilitation Recovery
Post-operative rehabilitation programs are recommended to strengthen the muscles at the injured site, relieve pain, ensure mobility, and restore to normal functional capability. The common rehabilitation procedures include:
- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce pain
- Usage of crutches, braces, or heat retainer to prevent movement of the injured site
- Sports massages
In addition to the above-mentioned treatments, your physiotherapist may instruct special exercises following surgery depending upon the type of injury and type of surgery.