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What Exactly is Physical Therapy?

Dana Tress 
August 29, 2019
What Exactly is Physical Therapy?

As Physical Therapists, we realize that many people have their own versions of what physical therapy entails based on personal experiences or through the stories of others. Many people who go to physical therapy often do so after an injury. So while people think that physical therapists only work with people with an orthopedic type injury (such as a muscle strain or a torn ligament), the profession of physical therapy encompasses so much more!

We are more than experts in hot packs, “massage”, and stretching. Physical therapists (PTs) are experts in how the human body moves, and how each system of the body works together to generate that movement. They learn all about human anatomy (from the brain and bones, to the muscles and nerves) and how each individual joint of the body moves. They are trained to look at how a person is moving and identify from that assessment where the person is having problems, be it something such as muscle weakness or poor movement in a joint.

The vast knowledge that physical therapist’s possess allows them to work with all types of patients and ages – those with orthopedic injuries, after surgery, neurological problems (from diseases such as Parkinsons or MS, to dizziness and headaches), developmental disorders, and more. They are able to use their extensive education of the human body to identify areas of weakness in how a person is moving or functioning, and then employ a huge array of tools to help them improve and recover.

Physical therapists use a combination of exercises, manual (hands-on) techniques, and modalities to help restore functional movement for their patients. It is important to a physical therapist to help their patient achieve his/her goals, whether it is something as simple as sitting up with good balance, walking down the steep driveway to retrieve the mail, or playing competitive sports.

Another aspect of physical therapy that is not as commonly known is injury prevention. PTs use their knowledge of human movement to look at the quality of an individual’s walking, running, squatting, jumping, balance and more to identify movement issues BEFORE they cause problems for a person. Injury prevention not only helps reduce the risk of future injury, but it improves athletic and functional performance.

If you feel as if physical therapy might be beneficial for you or someone you know, please call, email, or message us! We are a direct access state, so a script from an MD is not required to initiate the process to facilitate your healing. We love to help!!

Dana Tress
Meet the Author
Dana Tress, PT, CEAS, AIB-CON is a physical therapist specializing in the management of concussion, balance dysfunction, headaches and dizziness in Crystal Lake, Illinois at Smith Physical Therapy Balance + Concussion Center, an award winner in concierge physical therapy services for McHenry County and surrounding regions.