3 Important Types of Physical Therapy and How They Can Help

There are many types of physical therapy that specialize in treating all sorts of conditions throughout your body. Physical therapy can be provided in a specialized clinic, hospital, or even in your home. Read on to learn about the types of physical therapy that could benefit you or a loved one. 

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal (e.g. bones, muscles, tendons, etc). Your physical therapist would diagnose and treat conditions like arthritis, plantar fasciitis, muscular dystrophy, joint pain, scoliosis, and knee instability. Your physical therapist will create a treatment plan specialized to help with your condition and will teach you how to manage it in the future. 

Orthopedic physical therapy is also a good resource for rehabilitation after surgeries like hip replacement, knee replacement, heart surgery, cancer surgery, and more. Some of the treatments that can be used in orthopedic physical therapy include:

  • Hot/Cold therapy: This includes cryotherapy and thermotherapy to treat swelling.
  • Aquatic therapy: The exercises are done in the water so that the water can provide support and promote muscle strength.
  • Soft tissue manipulation: This is similar to a massage and is said to decrease muscle tension. 
  • Laser/Light therapy: The use of lasers and light helps the muscles by reducing fatigue and boosting performance. 
  • Traction: This assists in relieving pressure throughout the body that may be causing neck or back pain. 

Geriatric Physical Therapy

Geriatric physical therapy is aimed at helping older adults maintain functionality. 

Your therapist would diagnose and treat conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, balance conditions, and Alzheimer's. Your physical therapist will create a program to assist in improving or maintaining the ability to participate in activities. They can also conduct a fall risk assessment. They will also teach your family member how to help you with your conditions. 

Some of the treatments that can be used in geriatric physical therapy include:

  • Aquatic therapy: The resistance of the water can help with balance and gait.
  • Stretching: This will help with flexibility. 
  • Soft tissue manipulation: This helps decrease muscle tension and relieves pain. 
  • Walking: Simply walking can help with balance, gait, and endurance. 

Neurological Physical Therapy

Neurological physical therapy focuses on those experiencing movement issues due to an injury or trauma to the nervous system. 

Your therapist would diagnose and treat conditions like strokes, traumatic brain injuries, (TBI), spasticity, Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, and injuries to the spinal cord. Therapists who specialize in neurological physical therapy are there to help teach you how to move again. There may be some functions that your brain may have forgotten how to perform after a neurologic trauma. 

Some of the things your therapist will help with include re-learning balance, restoring motor control, gait training, improving endurance, and vision perception training.