Orthopedic physical therapy involves the musculoskeletal system and is often performed in an out-patient setting. People who undergo surgeries on the knee or elbow often need therapy to regain normal mobility and increase pain caused by the surgery. Elderly people commonly receive treatment after falling to help build up coordination, balance, and strength. Athletes commonly need orthopedic physical therapy to treat sports-related injuries and rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are another reason people seek orthopedic physical therapy in an out-patient clinic.
Rehabilitation is sometimes necessary after a surgery or an injury. While physical therapy can provide preventive health care measures, most therapists work with people who have already experienced an injury. One of the most common complaints therapists hear about is chronic back pain.
Back pain is complicated because the pain is not always centrally located. Back pain can cause pains to travel to the neck, arms, and legs. Occidentally back pain can be felt in the chest, causing pressure and tightness. By seeking orthopedic manual physical therapy when the pain is reliably new and manageable, a person can prevent more serious pain problems in the future.
A physical therapist will start out by performing an exam and consultation. The therapist may prescribe exercises that the patient can do at home when back pain strikes. Information about proper posture and how best to stand and sit to prevent future back pain is also part of the physical therapy process. For patients who have undergone back surgery, physical therapists will work on stretching activities that strengthen the back. The therapist will demonstrate the best way to do the stretch and then work with the patient to make sure the technique is correct.
A therapist will also work on pain management by showing patients how to apply hot and cold treatments to the area or applying electrical stimulation to the area that underwent surgery. Light weight bearing exercises that focus on the painful part of the back may also be performed with the therapist.
Knee, Elbow, and Shoulder Pain
Orthopedic physical therapy can provide treatments for knee, elbow, and shoulder pain. Treatments can even be combined to work both the elbow and the shoulder with similar exercises. People experiencing pain in the knee, elbow, or shoulder when lifting objects, exercising, or performing daily tasks should visit a physical therapist for treatment.
Physical therapists will use conservative methods to treat arthritis, closed muscles, tendonitis, and other afflictions of the muscles and bones. Stretches, joint stabilization, and pain management using hot and cold treatment and electrical stimulation are all aspects of manual therapy.
Rehabilitation for Geriatric Patients
Elderly people experience a loss of muscle and bone mass due to age. A therapist can pinpoint the areas suffering from the most loss and help rebuild strength in those areas through exercises and strength building activities. Orthopedic physical therapy is only one component of the physical therapy field, but it seems to be the one area of practice that many patients rely on to get their body back to normal functioning.