What Is Orthopedic Physical Therapy?

Orthopedic physical therapy is a discipline of medicine devoted to treating adults with musculoskeletal conditions that can cause pain and dysfunction. The purpose of this practice is to prevent and relieve pain and improve functioning. Orthopedic physical therapy is often used in conjunction with other medical treatment. Often times, patients are referred to a specific orthopedic surgeon for specialized treatment.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Orthopedic physical therapy is focused on restoring injured function and preventing further injury by correcting physical deformities and promoting the development of motor and sensory pathways. To do so, orthopedic appointments usually are 30-minute sessions spent one-to-one with your primary physician. During these sessions, your primary care physician will review your medical history, perform diagnostic tests, review your symptoms, and perform therapeutic exercises designed to correct mobility or restore function. If you are experiencing new symptoms, such as muscle pain, swelling, redness, or swelling, your physical therapist may include the additional tests described above. Your therapist will develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your specific needs.

Typically, orthopedic physical therapy is used to treat low back pain, neck pain, arthritic pain, knee pain, tennis elbow, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and hip pain associated with aging. Advanced physical therapy can also treat obesity, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain, head injuries, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Advanced physical therapy is used to prevent and reduce disability due to musculoskeletal conditions that involve inflammation, paralysis, and muscle weakness. Advanced physical therapy is intended to promote recovery by addressing the underlying pathology of the condition and preventing or reducing disabilities.

An additional component of an advanced physical therapy team includes nutrition and patient education. A nutritionist will determine the best course of action when it comes to nutrition after a diagnosis of a physical condition. The client’s dietary needs are educated to reflect his or her specific nutritional needs. A patient education program is designed around the specific needs of each individual client to ensure consistent aftercare.

All of these orthopedic physical therapy treatments are preventative measures. To have the greatest success with any treatment plan, the patient must commit to a regular schedule of care and return to the office for follow-up visits. People suffering from many different conditions can benefit from the same procedure, so it is important to choose an orthopedic manual physical therapy program that specializes in treating your specific condition. Remember that everyone is different; therefore, treatment plans for different patients will vary. This is why many orthopedic physical therapists will incorporate a combination of different treatment methods for patients with numerous conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy and musculoskeletal conditions, to name a few.

Physical therapy rehabilitation is not the end-all of medical care. However, it can be an extremely valuable part of comprehensive rehabilitation following an injury. Orthopedic physical therapists are highly trained health professionals who have the expertise to treat patients suffering from a wide range of conditions, from traumatic injuries to serious illnesses. Orthopedic rehabilitation therapy offers patients an opportunity to return to daily living with better flexibility, strength and endurance.

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