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.
Occupational Therapy & Rehabilitation
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a type of health care that focuses on improving one’s ability to carry out daily activities when health problems interfere.
An occupational therapist will work closely with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and will guide you to live life to its fullest, helping you to maintain, regain, or improve your independence using different techniques and equipment.
When is Occupational Therapy used?
Occupational therapy is used to treat and manage a wide range of conditions and needs which include:
- Depression, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic or constant pain, and chronic fatigue syndromes.
- Health conditions in children such as cerebral palsy, developmental condition disorder, Down’s syndrome, learning disability and autism.
- Age-related problems such as difficulty getting out of bed, and conditions related to memory such as dementia.
- Rehabilitation and recovery.
What does Occupational Therapy Involve?
Occupational therapy involves a combination of different techniques and equipment. Some of the techniques taught include:
- Approaching how you perform activities in a different way: For example, if you are having problems cutting vegetables, your OT might suggest you buy pre-cut vegetables from the store. If going out to shop is a problem for you, you might be advised to do internet shopping and have groceries delivered to your home. Your therapist might also suggest new ways of performing an activity.
- Making an environment suitable for your needs: The environment maybe your home, office or study place. Changes may involve placing wheelchair ramps, installing grab rails, installing a stairlift or providing a raised toilet seat.
- Using special tools or equipment: Your therapist might offer you new ideas to be used in everyday life such as using a walking stick or wheelchair, or a non-slip mat for bathing. For using a computer your therapist might suggest a specially adapted keyboard or mouse.
Do not hesitate to mention any difficulties to your OT, as there are many solutions they can suggest that can make your life easier.
Occupational Therapy and 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 functions of the patient. The goal of a rehab program varies depending on the patient's needs but is generally aimed at achieving a quick recovery. This program assists the patient to return to normal life through therapy or training.
Occupational therapy focuses on helping you get the most out of life. It is recommended for people who cannot resume their normal activities following an injury or surgery.