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What is Physical Therapy?

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by | 3 views

A Physical Therapist specializes in improving the physical function of the joints and muscles, alleviating musculoskeletal pain, assisting recovery from injuries, and can also help with preventing injury and loss of movement. A specially trained Physical Therapist can even work with and move the internal organs, break adhesions and improve organ function, which can be extremely beneficial for some types of fertility issues. Physical Therapists incorporate many different therapies such as fitness and exercise programs, utilize very specific manual therapy techniques, joint mobilizations, therapeutic massage, scientifically based stretching techniques, and other hands-on modalities, as well as providing education and training, into their physical therapy programs.

The goal of physical therapy is to optimize an individual’s overall functioning in their daily life activities. Physical Therapists are scientifically based movement experts that focus on enhancing the overall functioning of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, integuementary, and cardiopulmonary systems.

Pediatric Physical Therapists focus on creating movement solutions and enhancing the functioning of daily life activities for infants, babies, children and adolescents. They include improving gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and endurance as well as cognitive and sensory processing and integration into their treatment goals.

Physical Therapy for Mom and Baby

The body goes through many musculoskeletal changes during and after pregnancy, and often times, these changes can lead to discomfort and pain. Physical therapy can help maintain a healthy, active, and comfortable pregnancy, making for an easier birth. Birth itself can take a huge toll on the physical body, and can sometimes result in a musculoskeletal injury. A Physical Therapist may be able to assist in the healing process of an injury from pregnancy, labor, or birth. Women’s Health Physical Therapists specialize in the treatment of the pelvic floor and assist women with pelvic related disorders such as incontinence, which occurs from weakened pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and after birth. Physical Therapists prescribe specific exercises to strengthen and train the pelvic and core muscles correctly to assist women duringpostpartum recovery from the inside out.

Babies and children can benefit from physical therapy as well, especially to help them with their physical and motor development. Pediatric Physical Therapists can even assist in early detection of the potential for developmental delay or certain health problems, and often work with a variety of congenital, developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal, or acquired disorders/diseases. Whether a child is on schedule or not with sitting up, crawling, and walking, or just needs to practice more tummy time, a pediatric Physical Therapist can provide exercises and parental/caretaker education to help increase and promote the baby’s self-esteem, sense of power, physical strength, coordination, and neuro-motor development.

If you would like to find a Physical Therapist in your area, refer to our Directory of Physical Therapists.


The information on this page was provided in part and reviewed by Michelle Alva, a licensed pre/postnatal and pediatric physical therapist with 14 years experience working with children and families. 

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