Treatment may include any number of techniques/ services/ modalities determined by an initial evaluation performed on the first visit. The physical therapist will discuss the findings with you, set goals and provide insight into how to best go about attaining those goals. As a part of your health care “team” the therapist will also consult with your physician regarding treatment recommendations/ progression. Each subsequent therapy visit provides an opportunity for re-assessment and changes in approach if needed with your comfort level and long term goals in mind.
Most people do not know what to expect when they are referred to a physical therapist. As well, the referral and need for therapy usually comes unexpectedly and at a stressful time in one’s life either after a painful injury, fracture, joint surgery/replacement, stroke or other neurologic incident.
In a nutshell, something has happened which no longer allows the person/ patient to move around and perform the normal routines of that person’s life. If the problem is due to an acute injury, surgery or disease process, the determination needs to be made by the referring physician as to the appropriate timing of the referral for therapy. Once that time arrives, it is time to begin the journey back toward optimal movement, function and pain free activity.
For some, prolonged periods of inactivity due to injury or illness have also resulted in deterioration of coordination, balance skills, and endurance. Physical therapists are trained to identify and treat this aspect of care as well.
In almost every case, daily home exercises are key to maintaining new found mobility and continuing to improve even after you are finished with regular therapy visits. Whether it is keeping an otherwise painfully stiff joint flexible and strong, or practicing very specific balance activities, or maintaining strong core muscle strength to avoid back/ neck pain. The physical therapist will provide you with a customized exercise program which, once practiced, is easily done independently at home.