Going to physical therapy is similar to paying a personal trainer at a gym. The difference is that a physical therapy facility treats helps you to recover from stress to your body. This stress can be the result of a surgical procedure, an injury, re-learning to use a broken bone after healing or even getting your body strength back after a long illness. Your physical therapist will keep in contact with your doctor to report your progress as you go through your treatment.
In order to be successful with your physical therapy treatment, you need to be a willing participant. It can take hard work to recover and there may seem like more pain is involved before you see any gain. Your physical therapist is a professional and is trained to know the best way to help you get back your body or learn how to live with limitations.
The first thing that happens when you start physical therapy is an assessment. The therapist will ask questions about what brings you to physical therapy. They will then assess your mobility and ask you your pain levels and what limitations you currently have. The physical therapist will also outline a plan for you, with goals for you to work towards.
After your assessment, the physical therapist or an assistant may use electrical stimulation on the area of pain. This method of pain management helps to provide short-term pain relief. Electrodes are placed near the area of pain and attached to a machine that will deliver low-voltage electrical currents that stimulate the nerves in the affected area. These currents send signals to your brain that will give you short-term pain relief. A hot pack is usually placed on top of the electrodes and you relax for several minutes while you have the treatment.
Another treatment used in physical therapy is ultrasound. Ultrasound uses high or low frequency sound waves that deeply penetrate the muscles to relieve tightness and spasms. It also increases circulation to the area to help in healing. The frequency can also be adjusted to use waves that will decrease inflammation. Sometimes ultrasound can feel painful but the treatment does work.
Another treatment used in physical therapy is massage. Massage soothes sore muscles and increases blood flow to the area. It helps to relax your muscles and relieve pain. You may not always be able to have massage therapy treatments depending upon your area of pain. As you continue with your physical therapy treatments, most likely, massage will become a regular part of your treatment.
Feedback is very important and the patient needs to realize that sometimes it is necessary to feel a certain level of pain while they work on retraining their body. At first, the physical therapist focuses on ways to decrease your pain by treating the pain . As your pain levels begin to decrease, the goal is to regain range of motion, strength and endurance through exercises. The physical therapist will correct your posture by teaching you correct body mechanics. The goal is to regain muscle control and strengthen your body to prevent further injury.
The physical therapist will also begin to teach you exercises that you can do at home. As you start to feel stronger, it will become easier to increase the exercises to more challenging ones. As a patient, the more you cooperate with your physical therapists recommendations, the sooner you will get back to feeling strong again. It is hard work to recover but you can get your body back to where it was or even better than before.