Physical Therapy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Types of Physical Therapy
Exercise is anything you do in addition to your regular daily activity that will improve your flexibility, strength, coordination, or endurance. It even includes changing how you do your regular activities to give you some health benefits. For example, if you park a little farther away from the door of the grocery store, the extra distance you walk is exercise. Physical therapy nearly always involves exercise of some kind that is specifically designed for your injury, illness, condition, or to help prevent future health problems. Exercise can include stretching to reduce stress on joints, core stability exercises to strengthen the muscles of your trunk (your back and abdomen) and hips, lifting weights to strengthen muscles, walking, doing water aerobics, and many other forms of activity. Your physical therapist is likely to teach you how to do an exercise program on your own at home so you can continue to work toward your fitness goals and prevent future problems.
Manual therapy is a general term for treatment performed with the hands and not with any other devices or machines. The goals of manual therapy include relaxation, less pain, and more flexibility. Manual therapy includes:
Physical therapy almost always includes education and training in areas such as:
In some locations, physical therapists are specially trained to be involved in other types of treatment, including:
Cold and ice
Ice and cold packs are used in physical therapy to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries and other conditions such as arthritis. Ice can be used for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. In some cases, ice may be used several times a day. Some therapists also use cooling lotions or sprays. For more information, see:
Heat can help relax and heal your muscles and soft tissues by increasing blood circulation. This can be especially helpful if a joint is stiff from osteoarthritis or from being immobilized. Heat can also relax the muscles before exercise. But heat can also increase swelling in an injured area if it is used too soon. For more information, see:
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat a disease or to maintain health. The term "hydrotherapy" (water therapy) can mean either exercise in the water or using water for care and healing of soft tissues. This type of therapy is based on the theory that water has many properties that give it the ability to heal.
For more information, see Hydrotherapy.
Ultrasound therapy uses high-pitched sound waves to ease muscle spasms and relax and warm muscles before exercise, to help relieve pain and inflammation, and to promote healing. Although the use of ultrasound is common, some studies show a benefit from this treatment and others do not. Some physical therapists do not recommend deep-heating techniques. Discuss the benefits and risks with your physical therapist or doctor before starting this therapy. This type of treatment is not generally used for children.
Electrical stimulation is the general term that describes the use of electrical current to create an effect in the body. There are several uses for electrical stimulation.
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