When you are in pain, you begin to use compensatory strategies to walk that decrease your pain temporarily. This adaptive strategy ends up causing you more problems over the long term because you begin limping or walking in ways that use your muscles, joints, and ligaments incorrectly. A physical therapist will be able to assess your gait mechanics and identify areas where you have strained your muscles. Through manual therapy, stretching, exercises, and education, your physical therapist will help you recover function you have lost by dealing with the cause of your pain. As you heal from the pain, you will begin to learn how to increase your strength and improve your mobility back to normal.
Your Physical Therapy Assessment
Your first visit with a physical therapist will involve an assessment to determine what is going on to cause you pain, stiffness, or poor mobility. While your physical therapist may have a little idea as to why you are coming in for treatment, they will take a medical history to get a more comprehensive picture of your current physical state. You may go through a series of small tests to measure your muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion. As you go through the assessment, your physical therapist may begin to provide treatment.
Manual Therapy and Your Physical Therapist
Manual therapy includes soft tissue mobilization through massage, ultrasound and stretching techniques. Your physical therapist may do a number of manual therapies to help improve circulation and break up scar tissue in the course of treatment. Your therapy session can include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, patient education, and neuro-muscular work. Manual therapy is usually hands-on therapy that your physical therapist provides one-on-one to help your body heal.
Better Mobility Through Physical Therapy
As your muscles, ligaments and tendons heal, you will be taught strengthening exercises that will correct your gait and improve your mobility. When you work with your physical therapist, you will be taught a series of exercises that you are supposed to do at home between sessions. By staying committed to your home exercise program, you will discover that you heal faster than if you ignore your home exercises.
Physical therapy is beneficial because it can help to restore function and improve mobility when you understand the importance of completing your exercises every day. With in-office treatment on a consistent basis and a focus on your exercises, you can heal from an injury and get better at moving about.
To learn more about physical therapy, contact a physical therapist in your area.