If you have a condition or injury affecting any of the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, or tendons, orthopedic physical therapy can help. This type of therapy uses a variety of therapeutic modalities, assistive devices, and exercises to reduce pain and improve functional mobility.
Physical Therapy MN also teaches patients injury prevention strategies, such as proper body mechanics. When lifting and exercising to reduce back pain or neck problems, They may also use soft tissue manipulation or dry needling techniques.
Orthopedic physical therapy plays a vital role in recovery for patients who have experienced injuries to their muscles, bones, or ligaments. PT helps reduce pain, improve range of motion, and restore strength to the body’s musculoskeletal system.
Your physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes manual therapies, assistive devices, and therapeutic exercises. Your therapist will also teach you how to prevent future injuries by teaching proper body mechanics and posture.
Orthopedic physical therapists are specially trained in treating the muscles, bones and ligaments of the musculoskeletal system. They can treat sports-related injuries, like knee and shoulder sprains, as well as injuries from overuse, such as tendinitis.
A physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation, taking into consideration medical history and conducting a physical examination. They will also conduct diagnostic tests to identify the root cause of your injury.
Some patients prefer to work with board-certified physical therapists. These specialists typically charge more than insurance rates, but can spend more time with each patient and provide better overall care. Choosing the right physical therapist for your needs starts with an online search, recommendations from friends or family, and referrals from your physician. It is important to find a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable working with. It is also important to set attainable goals and be honest with your therapist regarding your pain tolerance. The more committed you are to your therapy, the more progress you will make.
A physical therapist who specializes in manual therapy will use specific hands-on techniques to evaluate and treat your soft tissue imbalances and joint injuries. Manual therapy is research-backed programs based on the osteopathic philosophy that the body functions as a whole, and therefore evaluating and treating dysfunction within your musculoskeletal system is important to alleviate pain and restore function.
The two kinds of movements a PT performs during manual therapy are soft tissue work and joint mobilization/manipulation. Soft tissue work includes massage techniques that apply pressure to muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia to break adhesions, promote relaxation, change muscle function and reduce pain. Joint mobilization/manipulation is rhythmic, passive and painless movements that a PT applies to a joint with the aim of producing a desired effect, such as improving the range of motion, decreasing stiffness or increasing muscle activation.
Depending on your injury, a therapist may also perform manipulation of the spine. This requires a great deal of skill and should only be done by a trained therapist as it can cause complications such as vertebrobasilar artery dissection, stroke or nerve root irritation (Ernst 2007).
Your physical therapist will assess your specific needs and decide whether or not you need manual therapy. This can be difficult to determine at your initial evaluation as many therapists will incorporate both manual and non-manual therapies into your treatment plan. When seeking a therapist that specializes in manual physical therapy, look for one who is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists to ensure they have received adequate training and education.
Cryotherapy is used during the acute phase of injury to reduce pain, swelling, protect the injured tissue and initiate healing. The therapy can include ice applications, cold sprays, or the use of a cryotherapy machine. Ice works by constricting the local blood vessels, which decreases fluid accumulating in the tissue and relieves swelling. After a few minutes, the vasoconstriction alternates with dilation, which stimulates circulation to clear away the tissue fluid and encourages healing.
Heat therapy, or thermotherapy, is also commonly utilized in orthopedic physical therapy. It can be as simple as a hot water bottle or pads that are heated in the microwave. Heat promotes blood flow and helps relax muscles, which may provide immediate relief of pain. A hot bath can also be beneficial. It is recommended that alternating the application of heat and cold treatments be used for optimal results.
When searching for an orthopedic physical therapist, be sure to find one who is board-certified in clinical specialty (OCS). This ensures they have undergone a rigorous education and certification process. You can find certified therapists through online searches, suggestions from friends, or referrals from your healthcare provider. They are often out-of-network with insurance, which allows them to spend more time with patients and deliver better outcomes. They will also help you create an exercise program to perform at home so that you can continue to improve your mobility and alleviate pain in the future.
Many people with orthopedic injuries and conditions avoid exercise because they think it will make their pain worse. However, the right types of movement can actually relieve pain and improve joint function. This can reduce the need for medication and prevent re-injury.
Your physical therapist will provide you with a customized therapeutic exercise program that targets your specific needs. These exercises will help you regain strength, flexibility and balance. They may also include stretching and range-of-motion exercises that improve muscle mobility. Your therapist will teach you how to perform these exercises correctly so that you can continue them at home.
In addition, your therapist may include endurance training in your treatment program. These exercises involve long-duration workouts that are more aerobic in nature. These include swimming, walking, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator. This type of exercise can improve your heart health, too.
Lastly, your therapist may use balance and coordination exercises to address issues with balance or stability. These may involve standing on one leg or using a balance board. Your therapist will show you how to do these exercises safely and effectively, reducing the risk of injury or further pain.
Your therapist can also recommend other therapies, including massage, acupuncture and cryotherapy, to complement your orthopedic therapy. These methods can help you manage your pain, decrease inflammation, and speed healing after an orthopedic injury or chronic condition.
Often, people with disabilities rely on assistive devices to help them manage daily tasks and activities. These devices can range from simple, everyday tools such as specialized handles or grips to more complex adaptive technologies like computers with adapted software programs.
Many patients who suffer from musculoskeletal injuries, especially those with more serious conditions, benefit significantly from these assistive devices. They can be used to provide support during movement, reduce pain and stiffness, improve mobility, and help prevent the need for surgery.
Some orthopedic physical therapists are trained in the use of a variety of assistive devices. They may also be able to recommend more specialized assistive devices for those who need them.
In addition to assisting with daily activities, these devices can boost the confidence of their users. This can encourage people to participate in community and work activities, leading to greater independence. In low and middle-income countries, 5-15 percent of those who require assistive devices do not have access to them due to limited production and high costs.
most patients are able to self-refer themselves for orthopedic therapy without first needing a doctor’s referral, known as direct access. However, it’s important to check your own state laws to see the conditions and restrictions that apply. You can find a list of resources through the American Physical Therapy Association. You can also look into local organizations and financing options.
Many patients that undergo orthopedic physical therapy also have nutritional issues. In these cases, the therapist will often incorporate nutritional components into their treatment. This is a great way to ensure that the client’s overall health is being taken care of and to maximize their recovery.
For example, an unhealthy diet can lead to a lack of energy and systemic inflammation throughout the body. These issues can make it difficult for a patient to recover from an injury, especially if the therapist is using aggressive techniques like soft tissue manipulation or dry needling, which may cause bruising or even puncture the lungs.
Nutritional counseling is a great way for the therapist to help their patient get healthy and feel better after an injury. Ideally, the therapist will work with a dietitian or a holistic nutritionist to provide the best information and guidance to their clients.
In a recent study, researchers found that registered physical therapists had a positive attitude toward incorporating nutritional assessment and counseling into their clinical practice. The research also identified two background professional characteristics that were predictors of a physical therapist’s positive attitude. The results indicate that the education system for physical therapists should be modified to include the role of nutrition in the scope of practice. Ultimately, this will help patients become healthier and return to their normal lives with reduced pain and improved mobility.