When it comes to healthcare, many people are skeptical about the idea of ​​physical therapy. What exactly is it? Is it an alternative to a regular doctor's visit? Who are PTs, and how can they help me? There are many questions, but this article will shed some light on the role it plays in potential patients' lives.

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is treatment in response to a health problem that affects a person's everyday mobility. The goal is to alleviate one's day-to-day difficulties and make the small aspects of daily activity easier. By no means is it a substitution for a doctor's visit; on the contrary, it is usually prescribed to a patient by a doctor as a treatment for an ailment. For example, if a subject is diagnosed with a serious hairline fracture in the tibia (leg) and requires crutches, then the doctor will probably provide a prescription for one or two month series of physical therapy appointments. These appointments will come after the leg is healed, but are meant to strengthen the leg after its absence of walking. The appointments can take place at a private facility or hospital and are in conjunction with one's doctor and insurance.

Who Are Physical Therapists?

PTs are licensed healthcare professionals, usually with a graduate degree, who are trained to know best practices in muscle and body rehabilitation. Often with a background in sports, PTs are familiar with many possible injuries and are skilled in providing relief to those injuries. They supply a better alternative to long-term prescription drug use or surgery. In cases where surgery is necessary, they can reduce pain after a difficult procedure and improve the rehabilitation process. PTs can be found at private clinics, hospitals, home health agencies, or other places where there is a need for treatment.

What Can a New Patient Expect?

During the first appointment with a PT, one can expect a diagnosis and synopsis of an ailment and beginner activities to alleviate the ailment. After multiple appointments, one can begin to expect a steady regimen of exercises, stretches, and other activities designed to target the condition and treat it. Many of these activities can be done at home without the need for multiple on-site meetings. A PT will ask a patient to practice the stretches outside of the appointment, but treatment centers are equipped with a variety of machines and tools to assist in treatment.

The benefits of physical therapy are unparallel: reducing pain, improving mobility, healing tissue, offsetting injuries, managing conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and more. If avoiding surgery or a lengthy drug prescription is a priority, one should look into an appointment. There are more than 200,000 licensed PTs in the US located throughout the country and help can be easily found.