6 Different Types of Physical Therapy and Their Benefits
Did you know that there are six main types of physical therapy and different instruments to treat certain conditions related to the motor and posture of the body? This discipline of health science incorporates various modalities of rehabilitation and treatment without the use of drugs.
These subspecialties of PT were developed over time and are intended to deal with different ailments and pathologies, more appropriately and effectively. Nowadays, people have a wide range of possible therapy techniques to help them overcome, treat, and rehabilitate their bodies, after suffering from a specific condition or injury.
Why do you need physical therapy?
There are many reasons to consult with a therapist. This will help to identify - initially - what type of disorder the patient presents and what methods of physical therapy the clinic should practice to relieve and treat the body. Among the main reasons we can find:
Injuries that go unnoticed and over time become more difficult to heal;
Loss of body mobility - not only by the passage of time – in the muscles and joints. It's natural but preventable.
Chronic pains become increasingly acute.
Treatment for more severe conditions such as Parkinson's, fibromyalgia, or multiple sclerosis.
Self-medication can calm the pain, but it doesn't solve the problem. If something hurts, it's not normal. It's a body alert that needs your attention.
What are the different types of physical therapy?
1. Pediatric physical therapy
Among the different types of PT, we find one related exclusively to children. This type of physical therapy helps correct birth defects, delayed physical growth, treat acute damage, and genetic defects such as cerebral palsy.
This way, children can strengthen the affected parts and perfect the movements. Physical therapy is adequate to the target audience, trying to make children comfortable and engage them in playing times whenever it's possible to keep them motivated in therapy.
2. Neurological physical therapy
The objective of this therapy is to treat functional disorders originating in the neuromuscular and nervous systems. Also, restoring mobility, balance, and coordination is essential to improve motor skills and correct damage to the spinal cord, sciatica, aneurysm, brain injuries, and Parkinson's. These types of conditions can result in extreme muscle weakness and fatigue.
3. Geriatric physical therapy
This type of physical therapy treats age-related ailments. In general, it seeks to reduce pain, improve mobility through exercises, and various techniques. The main ailments of our elders are usually due to osteoporosis, arthritis, and chronic disorders.
Geriatric physical therapists have a great responsibility in the recovery of our grandparents.
4. Vestibular rehabilitation
Among the different kinds of physical therapy, there is a subspecialty for treating vestibular disorders. This means that the vestibular system - which controls eye movement and balance - and that can be affected by some type of disorder that prevents the patient from processing this type of sensory information.
This system is made up of parts of the inner ear and the brain.
5. Orthopedic physical therapy
Through this therapy, it is intended to correct deformities and different conditions related to the musculoskeletal system. It is very common to find patients with trauma to the bones, muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments.
6. Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy
Cardiopulmonary physical therapy aims to treat patients with chronic lung diseases, as well as heart failure.
Physiotherapists often teach patients different types of exercises and strength and resistance techniques, depending on the type of illness, to improve their quality of life.
What are the different types of physical therapy treatment?
Manual Therapy: This technique is widely used by therapists to manipulate and mobilize affected joints employing hand massage.
Soft tissue massage: The technique used in therapeutic massage. It gently mobilizes the tissues, providing relaxation in contracted muscles, reducing inflammation, and calming the pain.
Neuromuscular Re-Education: This treatment is aimed at the recovery of voluntary muscle control which a patient might have lost due to atrophy, injury, or pathology. Its objective is functionality through four phases (activation, strengthening, coordination, and resistance to fatigue).
Exercise: In general, physical therapists teach patients different types of exercises and stretches to contract, relax, and give mobility to the affected parts. This technique is intended to recompose the most common and everyday movements.
Hot and Cold Therapy: These types of physical therapy treatments are intended to alleviate chronic and acute conditions. The use of nitrogen in aerosols, ice, or cold packs, as well as cryogenics, alleviate acute conditions. On the contrary, with the use of hot packs, diathermy, and infrared heat, chronic conditions can be treated.
Ultrasound: With this treatment, therapists seek to reduce inflammation by inducing deep heat in the affected area. In the process, muscle spasms are lowered, the cellular level is increased as well as the metabolism, and more blood is flushed to the damaged part of the body.
Traction: Most of the time this technique uses pulleys or weights to place tension on the displaced bone or joint. This tension helps to reposition the joint to later immobilize (e.g.: shoulder dislocation).
Laser Therapy: Through this technique, a painless laser is applied to the affected area. Thanks to the powerful beam of light stimulated by radiation, this laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) provides improvements in bone, muscle, and neuralgic areas, accelerating recovery.
Electrical Stimulation: TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) technique is used with a battery-powered device that sends inferior electrical stimuli to the treatment area, through electrodes placed above the skin, to temporarily relieve pain.
Education: Physiotherapists have the role and obligation to educate patients in the therapeutic treatments to which they are subjected. There must be coherence on the part of the health professional and responsibility on the part of the patient to improve adaptability, strength, balance, and coordination.
Where to get physical therapy?
You can find different types of physical therapy services in the main research/rehabilitation centers, hospitals, geriatricians, and clinics. Some physiotherapists are self-employed in sports centers or clubs and also in gyms, associations, businesses/enterprises, home care, or in private offices. There are also freelance therapists.
Therapists are also available in facilities like Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center Inc., which operates in Farmington Hills and Warren (Michigan state). For now, let's focus on what kind of therapies are there.
After knowing and better understanding the ailments present in a patient, the team of physiotherapy professionals creates a method designed to alleviate the conditions in a personalized way. The goal is to achieve the quickest results but at the same time proportionate comfort to the patient.
There you have it. We have just reviewed the various types of physical therapy that were developed over time. Remember to contact your doctor before you go into therapy and to look for the best professionals that can treat your injury, pain, or condition.
At Miracle Rehab we are proud to have a comprehensive plan of care, focused on your specific needs, making sure you have the speediest recovery. Either if it's monthly or daily, a trip to the physiotherapist does not have to be an uncomfortable experience. Visit us and get your treatment started.