Recovery from orthopaedic injury normally requires a three-step process, which includes pain relief and inflammation reduction, treatment, and rehabilitation. Physical therapy involves the restoration of function, allowing you to regain your independence in the safest and most effective way possible. Rehabilitation is the process that assists a person in recovering from a serious injury, while physical therapy will help with strength, mobility and fitness.
The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together after injury or disease, without surgery.
Specifically, rehabilitation physicians:
- Diagnose and treat pain
- Restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
- Treat the whole person, not just the problem area
- Lead a team of medical professionals
- Provide non-surgical treatments
- Explain your medical problems and treatment/prevention plan
Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician's medical team. This medical team might include other physicians and health professionals, such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age. Their broad medical expertise allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a person's lifetime.
Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; stroke; birth conditions, such as cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports, and other conditions.
The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, they are experts in the way the body moves, and they help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.
Physical therapy can help treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it's arthritis or another condition, and will help chronic pain improve over time. Physical therapy may include water therapy, such as working muscles in a pool or whirlpool. Physical therapy also includes regular exercise, and working with pain specialists trained in physical therapy can teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate pain, not increase it. Physical Therapists do the following:
- Set up a plan for their patients, outlining the patient's goals and the planned treatments
- Use exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients' pain and to help them increase their ability to move
- Evaluate a patient's progress, modifying a treatment plan and trying new treatments as needed
- Educate patients and their families about what to expect during recovery from injury and illness and how best to cope with what happens
If you have any questions regarding physical therapy and rehabilitation, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment.