What is Physical Therapy (PT)?

The American Physical Therapy Association's (APTA) defines physical therapists as "movement experts" who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.

The APTA adds:

  • Physical therapists provide an examination and take a medical history to develop a plan that uses PT treatment techniques.
  • PT treatments promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.
  • PTs teach you how to prevent or manage your condition so that you can achieve long-term health benefits.
  • PTs prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Here at BackFit Health + Spine we couldn't agree more with the purpose of physical therapy.

What's the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy?

Generally these terms are the same. Here in the United States, the term physical therapy is used more often than physiotherapy. If you see a physical therapist or physiotherapist, you might notice some small differences in preferred techniques and training, for example:

  • Physical therapy has a focus on injury recovery. Physiotherapy focuses on post-op care after surgery.
  • Physical therapists all have a 3-year degree. Physiotherapists all have 4 years of training.
  • PT uses more hands-on techniques, exercise, and functional medicine. Physiotherapists more often use electrical modalities like ultrasound, laser, interferential therapy, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and dry needling.

BackFit employs a combination of doctors of physical therapy, physical therapists, physiotherapists, and other sports medicine specialists to provide the best, integrated approach. Physical therapists interchangeably use “PT” for the therapy itself and as their title.

What can physical therapy treat?

PT can treat a long list of conditions, including but not limited to:

PT can help people of all ages heal, from the very young to adults and seniors.

What physical therapy techniques might be part of my plan at BackFit?

BackFit integrates a wide range of state-of-the-art PT techniques, including:

  • Hand Therapy: rehabilitation for conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities.
  • Lumbar Flexion/Extension: these specific exercises are designed to target an affected or injured area.
  • Full Spinal Traction: therapeutic distraction of the injured area providing pain relief and increased range of motion.
  • Graston Technique: also known as "scraping," a manual therapy using a metal tool that effectively removes scar tissue and trigger points from soft tissue.
  • Myofascial Release: sustaining an assist hold in a dysfunctional soft tissue area.
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: rhythmic movement at a dysfunctional soft tissue area.
  • Joint Mobilization: a manual intervention designed to improve joint mobility, ROM, and decrease pain.
  • Muscle Energy Technique (MET): manual therapy that uses muscle contractions to relax and lengthen muscles and normalize joint motion.
  • Therapeutic Exercise: patient specific exercises prescribed to improve deficits such as decreased strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance.
  • Neuromuscular Reeducation: activities employed to improve proprioception (spatial awareness), balance, gait, and kinesthetic (tactile) awareness.
  • Kinesio Taping: therapeutic taping technique applied to the skin to facilitate or inhibit muscular activity, reduce swelling, and increase joint stability.
  • TENS: multiple electrodes are placed on your skin, then a low-voltage electrical current is passed between them through your skin for acute pain relief.
  • PENS: similar to TENS but for chronic pain. Small needle electrodes are placed into the soft tissue or muscle and a low-voltage current is passed between them.
  • Functional Dry Needling: use of small needles to deactivate trigger points and loosen shortened muscles.
  • Deep Ultrasound Therapy: modality designed to facilitate muscular activity, inhibit pain, and reduce swelling.

Beyond these devices and techniques, we believe strongly that PT is also about patient education and home exercise prescriptions. We will provide you with a prognosis, expectations, and information on how to prevent recurrence of injury. Your treatment plan will include printed, custom exercise and stretches that you can do at home between visits and after you complete treatment in the clinic.

How long is a physical therapy treatment at BackFit?

Sessions vary from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on your diagnosis and treatment plan. A treatment plan can last a few weeks to a few months.

BackFit is dedicated to providing you with exceptional physical therapy. Whether your pain is from acute injury or a chronic condition, our primary goal is to accurately identify the root cause. By addressing the underlying cause directly, we can help you correct it as quickly and safely as possible.

Our entire team of medical and chiropractic physicians is available for any further diagnosis and treatment necessary.

Get back in the game today!
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Patient receiving physical therapy at BackFit

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