You may have heard about physical therapy. Maybe you knew someone at work who threw out her back, and got better after seeing a physical therapist. Or maybe a family member recently had surgery, and after working with a PT, was able to return to playing his favorite sport without pain or difficulty.

What is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are movement specialists. Movement problems are often the result of pain, injury, poor posture, or from certain medical conditions. These movement problems can then cause more pain and/or more difficulty with movement, which can then cause loss of one’s ability to do his or her day-to-day activities. Physical therapists identify the causes of these movement problems, as well as the best treatment approaches to change these for the better.

What are the benefits of physical therapy?

  • Pain relief. A physical therapist will use exercise, education and special hands-on techniques to help you achieve pain-free and normal mobility.
  • Improve strength where you need it. Muscles improve with exercise. If you are experiencing weakness because of recent injury or surgery, have a PT design an individualized exercise program that will meet all of your needs and goals.
  • Help with improving your balance and coordination.
  • Assess and treat common causes of dizziness.
  • Find and improve movement issues. Do you have a “trick” shoulder that you keep “tweaking” when you are doing housework? Are you a runner who keeps getting shin splints? Did you recently have stroke, and now walk with a limp? Physical therapists can analyze movement and gait patterns, and design exercise programs and other strategies to help you move better and do better at home, work or sports.
  • Learn the importance of posture and proper body mechanics in recovering from, and avoiding, injury.

Additional Resources

  • Move Forward - Learn more about the benefits of physical therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association.