Types of Physical Therapy Used For Rehabilitation

A lot of people demand the services of physical therapists (PT's) for the management of an extensive array of medical conditions. Physicians, clients, and patients seek therapy services to benefit from a hands on physical therapy approach which is synonymous with manual physical therapy. The professionals examine their patients to assess their needs before developing care plans that reduce pain, promote movement, prevent disability, and restore function. Functional training and therapeutic exercise are cornerstones of physical therapy treatments. This article explains the different types of physical therapy used for rehabilitation. 

Hands On Physical Therapy

Also known as bodywork or manual therapy, it is a rehabilitation that is mostly performed by the professional’s hands. The aim of this to induce increased flexibility, decreased pain, and relaxation. It can include:


• Manipulation-this is where professionals apply pressure which can be strong to gentle or slow to rapid on a person’s joints.

• Massage-PTs apply pressure on the soft tissues of the body like the muscles to help relax them as well as ease pain and increase blood circulation.

• Mobilization- experts use measured and slow movements to pull, twist, or push joints and bones into position. It can also make tight tissues around joints lose to enhance alignment and flexibility.

Hands on Physical therapy - Manual therapy

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Specialists who deal with orthopedics where they are in charge of diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders and illness of the musculoskeletal system are using a method known as orthopedic physical therapy. In most cases, the professionals work in an outpatient setting helping people who are from having orthopedic surgery. They can offer assistance to people with amputations, sports injuries, arthritis, post-operative joint pain, and other conditions.

Pediatric Physical Therapy

Professionals who work in this field of pediatric physical therapy are passionate about the little ones. They mostly help to detect a broad range of health problems in babies all the way to adolescents. They assess health needs and treat the young people for disorders, diseases, and injuries that affect muscles, bones, and joints. The treatment improves the little ones gross/fine motor skills, endurance, strength, balance and a lot more. Other injuries that such professionals deal with include:


• Birth defects

• Acute injury

• Generic disorders like cerebral palsy

• Development delays

• Orthopaedic disabilities

• Limb deficiencies

• Muscle diseases

• Head trauma, etc.

The experts utilize modalities, therapeutic exercises, and treatments to help kids regain strength, alleviate pain, increase the range of motion, and master proper body mechanics in regards to flexibility and balance to enhance fine and gross motor skills.

Aquatic Physical Therapy

Physical therapy specialists take advantage of water’s physical properties to help with the rehabilitative process. Turbulence, buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and thermal properties of water come in handy with patient’s rehabilitation. Water therapy can benefit individuals with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and lumbar fusion surgery among many others.

Hand Physical Therapy

A majority of PT's can treat wrist and hand conditions without any problem. However, there are some who go through extra training to become certified in hand physical therapy. The experts work with people who have been affected by trauma that can include injured tendons, scars, burns, wounds, fractures, and even amputation of arms, hands, and fingers. The professionals also work with human beings who are disabled because of the effects of cumulative trauma disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow.

Sports Physical Therapy

PT Sports rehab deal with helping out most patients with recovery. They work in the same field as sports injury rehabilitation experts who improve an athlete’s utilized throwing, running, jumping abilities, using sports-specific rehabilitation programs. Sports physical therapy is a fun way to rehabilitate.   

Performance Physical Therapy

Performance physical therapy is one of treatment options that benefits all ages seeking optimal physical function – it is basically a form of therapy to increase wellness and fitness. It can even work for people experiencing lower back pain or even back pain as it helps patients to heal confidently within a shorter period and minimal pain. Performance-based PT is used to get already healthy individuals at the top of their game. 

sports physical therapy

Pain Management Therapy

People who are in pain do not want to hear that moving can put them out of their misery. However, they can engage in pain management treatments that have been known to alleviate various sources of chronic pain that include severe headaches, osteoarthritis’s, rheumatoid arthritis, Fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, etc. For instance, it is possible to engage in back pain exercise as a means of saying goodbye to the pain. In addition to getting rid of severe pain, this type therapy also makes a person stronger. Treatment methods for pain management therapy vary, ranging from massage, manipulation of bones and joints, manual therapy, cold laser therapy, and micro-current stimulation among many others.

Balance Physical Therapy

Balance physical therapy is rehabilitation for walking, standing and improving the patient's balance and help them maintain stable upright positions even when sitting. Individuals over 70 years old usually suffer from balance problems. PT's plan to help improve the strength, stability, and mobility of people with balance problems.

Types of Physical Therapy

Core Physical Therapy

People can benefit from rehabilitative services that are not only effective but are advanced in treating chronic pain, arthritis, recent injuries, to treat back pain and vertigo. Treatment methodologies of core physical therapy do not only address the pain but what is causing it as well. They can include myofascial release therapy, craniosacral therapy, massage, strain counter strain, joint mobilization, muscle energy technique, neural tissue tension, orthotic fabrication, regular/ particular exercise, and neuromuscular techniques, among many others. Have you ever heard the phrase, "working your core?" That is exactly what it is. 

Geriatric Physical Therapy

Geriatric physical therapy primarily focuses on the unique movements of seniors. It includes the treatment of various conditions which may include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, balance disorders, and joint replacement. The goal here is to reduce pain, accommodate physical limitations, restore mobility, and increase physical fitness.

Other Treatment Methods PT's Use

Some common treatment that many therapists use include:

• Ultrasound therapy- it makes use of high-pitched sound waves to relax and warm muscles as well as ease muscle spasms. The treatment option aims to relieve inflammation and pain and also enhance healing.​

• Ice and Cold- it helps to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain from injuries as well as other medical conditions like arthritis. A patient can use an ice pack for up to twenty minutes at a time. In some scenarios, people can utilize the option a couple of occasions in one day. Some professionals recommend cooling sprays and lotions.

• Electrical stimulation- it uses electrical current to create a particular effect in the body. Professionals often use electrical stimulation to reduce pain at low levels. Patients can also use this to tense muscles. Studies are underway to introduce ways that the stimulation can help in regards to healing broken bones, and wounds.

• Heat- some therapists use it to heal and relax soft tissues, and muscles because it contributes to increased blood circulation. It works well especially in cases where joints are stiff from being immobile or because of osteoarthritis.

• Wound care- some people suffer from severe injuries some that do not heal well most of the time because of poor circulation to the problem area. Such patients can benefit from extensive care from therapists who can include bandaging and special cleaning. At times electrical stimulation and oxygen treatment is also part of the care package.

• Vestibular rehabilitation- it helps the inner year to respond to changes in the position of the body. It comes in handy for individuals with vertigo or a feeling that you or the surroundings are tilting or spinning when in an actual sense there is no movement. At times such patients may need rehabilitation so that they can know when to expect the issue. It can also teach the body how to react.

Many people who work as PT's enjoy a rewarding career because they genuinely help their patients, something that leads to enriching their lives. These are individuals who understand the human anatomy well as how the body is supposed to function; thus, offer the ideal solutions that allow people to work, live, and play at peak performance. The expert therapists go beyond diagnosis and symptoms because they dig deeper to find out what the problem is before fixing it. They will explain to you how the body is designed to function, and after a few treatments, the pain decreases, function and mobility improve significantly and when PT's see good results they know they have done their job well.

Electrical stimulation Therapy

If you are interested in a career in the physiotherapy field you might consider this article: How to become a physical therapist in three years

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