Physical therapy is a medical field concerned with rehabilitating the body to its optimal performance level, improving quality of life. A physical therapist customizes treatments, exercises, and stretches that help a patient carry out the daily functions of their lifestyle more comfortably through a series of sessions that build upon each other. By increasing flexibility, strengthening targeted areas of the body, and increasing blood flow, physical therapy aids patients in achieving a number of goals like:
- Recovering from surgery
- Recovering from injury
- Improving athletic performance
- Targeting weak areas to prevent injury
- Managing pain
Physical therapy is the most conservative, natural treatment of musculoskeletal or neuromuscular conditions and injuries. A physical therapist guides a patient through programs that help them meet their physical function goals. They will help increase flexibility and balance, correct posture and alignment, and strengthen and massage soft tissues that cause pain. A physical therapist may use a number of tools, such as a treadmill, foam roller, weights, etc., that aid in stretching and strengthening programs. This conditioning helps a range of different individuals, from rehabilitating an elderly patient so they may walk more easily or enabling a tennis player to fully recover range of motion in their elbow. Treatments and exercises will become increasingly more intense or challenging to ease the body into reaching its full potential. A physical therapist is also able to correct a patient’s posture and teach how to perform certain activities in order to prevent pain or future injury.