What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy, or physiotherapy, is used to treat pain, improve movement and build up weak muscles. It’s often done to help recover from injuries or surgery, but people also work with therapists to manage long-term conditions like arthritis and stroke.

What are the 3 types of physical therapy?

Many states allow you to go directly to a PT without a doctor’s referral, and some insurance policies cover it. But a doctor or nurse can refer you for PT, and it’s a good idea to have one if you have a serious injury or condition.

During a session, your therapist may use massage techniques, treatments based on physical stimuli (like heat or electrical currents) or exercises to get your joints moving again. They might also give you a routine to follow at home, and it’s important that you do all the exercises, says Reddon. If you don’t understand an exercise or are having trouble doing it, ask for another explanation.

Your therapist will want to know how your pain or problem affects your daily life and how it’s impacting your sleep, eating habits and work. They may recommend changes to your lifestyle in order to ease the pain or reduce it altogether, and they’ll set personal goals with you — for instance, how much better you want to function and feel. They might also talk about how to prevent a recurring problem.

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