Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is concerned with promotion of health, with prevention of physical disabilities, and with the evaluation and rehabilitation of persons disabled by pain, disease or injury. The role of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant is to treat and prevent disability, relieve pain and help individuals return to normal, functional activities. In the inpatient setting, physical therapists or physical therapist assistants treat patients who have functional impairments or pain resulting from orthopedic problems such as fractures, joint replacements, back and neck injuries, burns, amputations, arthritis, neurological problems such as stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease or acute and chronic illnesses.

Physical therapists help patients recover by:

  • Evaluating a patient's strength, joint flexibility, body movement, balance, sensation, coordination and functional mobility
  • Identifying impairments such as weakness, imbalance, difficulty with movement, abnormal gait (walking) and decreased functional independence that are limiting a patient's function
  • Designing an individualized treatment plan that addresses those impairments and helps the patient meet his or her functional goals

Treatment may include:

  • Strengthening
  • Endurance activities
  • Functional training in areas such as walking, standing up, getting in and out of bed, moving from one surface to another, wheelchair use and going up and down curbs and stairs
  • Balance re-training
  • Neuromuscular re-training
  • Use of therapeutic modalities such as electrical stimulation or ultrasound to decrease pain and increase performance
  • Home exercise programs
  • Safety education
  • Family and caregiver education and training
  • Wound Care