Physical therapy is a type of medical care that focuses on restoring movements and functions of the body. Physical therapy uses various non-invasive modalities like guided exercise programs, active stretches, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to muscle imbalances. In this article, we’ll explore five common diseases and disorders treated by physical therapy.
1. Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek physical therapy treatment. Through activities such as stretching, strengthening, and aerobic conditioning, physical therapists can help reduce or even eliminate back pain. They can also provide advice on how to avoid future episodes of back pain through lifestyle modifications such as posture improvements or changes in nutrition or exercise habits.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage between joints. Osteoarthritis is managed by a multi-approach treatment including medications and guided exercise programs, and various stretches. Many people find relief with physical therapists, who help patients manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis with exercises and stretches designed to reduce pain and improve mobility in affected joints.
After a stroke, many patients require physical therapy to regain strength and movement in their affected limbs. Physical therapists work with stroke patients using techniques including range-of-motion exercises, electrical stimulation, gait training (walking), balance training, and even aquatic therapy (in water). These therapies are designed not only to restore strength but also to improve neuronal coordination and prevent re-injury due to falls or other accidents.
4. Sports Injuries
Many athletes seek physical therapy after an injury in order to regain strength and prevent further damage or injury down the road. Common sports injuries treated by physical therapists include:
- Shin splints
- A minor anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Tendonitis (inflammation of tendons)
- Runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome)
- Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome (pain on the outer side of the knee and thigh)
- Hamstring strains/tears
- Ankle sprains/fractures
- Neck/shoulder impingement syndrome (pinched nerve near shoulder blade area)
- Golfers elbow (elbow tendonitis)
Using specialized treatments such as manual therapy (hands-on manipulation) massage or ultrasound combined with targeted exercises for specific muscles/joints helps athletes recover quickly from sports injuries while preventing re-injury down the road.
5. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the brain that affects movement and balance. Individuals with cerebral palsy often experience difficulty with motor control or coordination as well as muscle weakness or tightness. Unfortunately, CP is an uncurable disease, and treatment is focused on improving lifestyle. Physical therapists help individuals with cerebral palsy increase their strength and mobility through specialized exercises aimed at increasing flexibility, and improving balance, and coordination skills.
While there are many diseases and disorders that can benefit from physical therapy treatment, these five represent some of the most common conditions seen in physical therapists’ offices every day. If you or someone you love is suffering from one of these conditions or any other physical condition, call Watauga Orthopaedics Physical Therapy Office in Johnson City, TN at (423) 282-9011. You may also request an appointment here. We look forward to treating you!