The Role of Physical Therapy in Modern Medicine..
Author: Raifu Olorunfemi, PT., MS.
Physical therapy: is an art and science of the treatment of disease, injury or deformity by physical means and methods such as massage, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, manipulation, myofascial release, heat treatment, sound waves, electrical waves, cupping, dry needle, and exercise rather than drugs and surgery.
As we can see from the above definition, medicine encompasses three treatment methodologies such as drugs, surgical and physical treatments.
Whenever there is a disease, injury or deformity you go to a physician. Often, the first line of treatment is by the prescription of drugs. If the condition does not respond to drugs, the next type of treatment is often the therapeutic physical treatment of the ailment if it has a place or role. If it’s determined that physical treatment has role to play, the condition could be referred to a physical therapist. In some cases drugs and physical treatment are used together in a treatment plan. However, if these treatment options fail, the condition may be referred to a surgeon. Surgery is often the last resort in medicine if no other treatment options improve the condition.
Physical therapists: are highly trained healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages from newborns to elderly which have medical problems or other related health conditions that limit their functions and daily activities.
When you come to a Physical therapist for any conditions or diseases, the Physical therapist will review the patient’s medical and surgical records if available including recent medications, X-ray and MRI data and review the history regarding the condition or disease with the patient. Questions regarding: when and how the condition started; what other diseases or diagnoses has the patient had; when does the condition get worse; what kind of activities make it worse; what makes it better; how does the symptom affect your activities and daily functions? With all these pieces of information in mind, the Therapist will progress to a physical examination with the taking of vital signs and consider palpation, skin color, swelling, muscle movement, range of motion, as well as observation of standing posture, gait, balance and other special tests deemed appropriate for the condition at hand. Using all the available information, the Physical therapist will diagnose the condition and set an appropriate care plan for the treatment of the condition.
The Physical therapist will continue to monitor patient progress and re-examine the patient as treatment continues. Care plans may be modified by the Physical therapist as the patient’s needs change or if the patient’s condition/disease is not responding to the original plan.
Physical therapists treat acute or chronic conditions, diseases or injuries which include but are not limited to the following: Pain (neck, face, jaw, shoulder, elbow, wrist, thoracic, chest, low back, pelvic, hip, knee, ankle and foot); difficulty in walking, balance problems (vertigo, lack of coordination, inability or difficulty standing, painful sexual intercourse, frequent falls); muscle weakness, pregnancy back pain, carpal tunnel, golf and tennis elbow, Epicondylitis, urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating, constipation, bell‘s palsy, facial palsy, headaches, chronic sinusitis, herniation and bulging disc, muscle imbalance, Parkinson, stroke, dystonia, COPD, difficulty breathing, emphysema, fibrocystic breast, MS, motor vehicle accident, sprain/strain, sport injury, cognition problems, post-surgical problems, spinal cord injuries to name but a few.
Before ending this topic it should be noted that different Physical therapists may approach various conditions with differing treatment plans or methods which may vary from one physical therapist to another based on the Physical therapist’s evaluation and understanding of the condition. Therefore, if you’ve previously had physical therapy and did not experience improvement in the condition, it doesn’t mean that physical therapy cannot help you. Perhaps the Physical therapist did not administer the right treatment plan for you and a second opinion and evaluation by another physical therapist could help.
If you have questions or concerns, or you have had physical therapy before but did not have positive results, contact us at (352) 840-0004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a Contact Form for more information or to schedule a consultation.
- World Federation for Physical Therapy
- Oxford Dictionary