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Physical therapy should be a part of any recovery program after an injury. The purpose of physical therapy is to bring you back to a normal state of health after injuries or surgery. A trained physical therapist (PT) knows how to help the injured body part to heal, and how to improve your mobility safely.
Exercises and Mobility Therapy
Physical therapy uses a variety of techniques and methods to help you to recover and to restore your mobility and strength. Physical therapists teach exercises you can do at home to bring movement back to the injured body part. Today it is recommended that you should start moving again as soon as possible after an injury, and a PT can devise an exercise program that will bring your normal mobility back efficiently.
The exercise plan is created according to your injury and to your body. The PT will show you how to perform the exercises, and you can then continue them at home every day. Gentle exercises, such as walking, can be added to the specific movements you should to help the injury heal.
Other Treatments and Therapies
Physical therapy uses a variety of methods to treat an injury. Ice packs are often used in the first instance, followed by alternative ice and heat packs as the injury starts to heal. You can also do these treatments easily at home. Ice packs reduce swelling, and the heat improves blood flow.
The therapist may apply TENS, or trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. In this therapy an electric current is passed into the affected area to relieve pain, to stimulate the nerves and to boost circulation. Ultrasound treatments are another option. These involve high-frequency sound waves that can boost circulation and stimulate cell activity, relieve muscle spasms and reduce pain. Some physiotherapists also use aquatic therapy (therapy that is performed in water) to relax the muscles and relieve pain.
Massage and Other Manual Therapies
Physical therapists are trained in manual therapies, such as massage, and may use these to release tension in the muscles around the injured body part. The muscles around the injured area often become tense and can even go into spasm. Massage on these muscles (but not on the injured area itself, especially if there is inflammation) boosts blood flow, releases spasms and helps healing.
Manual therapies also help to reduce swelling –but as trained therapists know, they must not be done on the actual area of inflammation. Some physical therapists apply acupuncture needles. These are fine needles that are inserted into certain points in the body to stimulate healing, to relieve pain and to reduce inflammation.
A physical therapist can also give you exercises that are designed to prevent future injuries. These can include movements that strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility, and movements to strengthen the core and to improve balance. Physical therapists often work together with doctors in hospitals. Physical therapy is helpful for injuries, but it is also used after surgery, and in cases of disabilities and illnesses.
This article was written by the Center of Medical Arts, Physical Therapy in New Britain, CT. The Center of Medical Arts has been performing professional Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Laser Therapy, Endermologie, Gait and Orthotics, and Decompression services for over 15 years. For superior health service, visit the Center of Medical Arts in New Britain, CT.
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